The 22nd Birell Prague Grand Prix (the sixth event of this year's RunCzech Running League) was an unforgettable occasion. RunCzech Racing Team member Joyciline Jepkosgei has become the first woman in history to complete the ten-kilometre road race in less than 30 minutes. Her time of 29:43 meant a new world record (to be ratified), thus also enhancing her own world best time. In terms of the men, two Kenyans with the same surname -- Kimeli - were left to battle it out right till the end. Finally, though Bernard (also a RunCzech Racing Team member) emerged as the strongest of the two beating Mathew (a member of the RunCzech Alumni Team) in what can only be described as a truly breath-taking final stretch (27:10). There were no surprises when it came to the results among the Czech runners with another RunCzech Racing Team member Eva Vrabcová-Nývltová triumphing in the women's category with a time of 33:08 and Jiří Homoláč scooping up first place among the men (30:14).
Prague appears to be getting a bit of a reputation for breaking world records recently. During one single Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon held back in April, Joyciline Jepkosgei ran a total of four world records and now she's added another to the list. "I still can't believe it. Joyciline is simply an amazing runner which she's proved to us once again today. And the fact that she also runs for our RunCzech Racing Team is an added bonus. But it has to be said that everyone involved in the race had a part to play in creating Joyciline's world record. We wouldn't have been able to go ahead with the race without our organising team, partners, volunteers, institutions and many others, and I'd like to thank them for that," said a delighted Carlo Capalbo, President of the RunCzech Running League.
As usual, the world-renowned record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei was all smiles as she crossed the finish line. "I'm really pleased to have won today and managed to break a world record. The whole race was really tough and I basically had my heart set on a record right from the start which really took it out of me. But I'm really happy to have succeeded" the RunCzech Racing Team member revealed.
If world records were also recognised for the five-kilometre distance, then Joyciline Jepkosgei would be crowned as six times world record holder. Her interval time of 14:32 in the middle of the Birell 10 km Race has never been surpassed by any other woman runner. "Everything was going according to plan from the first kilometres; in fact it couldn't have gone any better. I'm pretty tired right now, but at the same time really satisfied," Jepkosgei added. Fancy Chemutai from Kenya finished second place six seconds after the legendary half an hour limit (30:06). Securing a time of 30:25, third place went to Violah Jepchumba representing Bahrain.
The men also delivered some especially fast times. The first three to cross the finish not only made it onto the podium but also the first three positions of this year's world rankings in the ten-kilometre distance. Spectators were left in suspense about the name of the winner right until the final stretch onto the blue finish-line carpet with RunCzech Racing Team members Bernard Kimeli and Mathew Kimeli battling it out right to the end. With a time of 27:10, Bernard was the first to cross the finish line, breaking a new personal best and race record.
"I'm really pleased with my time. The pacemakers were running a bit too slow, so I decided to take things into my own hands and set my own pace. The final two kilometres and the duel with Mathew were seriously gripping and I'm delighted to say I've finally managed to win in Prague," the joyful winner shared. Mathew Kimeli crossed the finish just one second later (27:11) with third place going to their colleague Rhonex Kipruto (27:13) whose excellent result took everyone by surprise. A total of eight men managed to finish the race in under twenty-eight minutes including the Norwegian Sondre Nordstad Moen whose performance of 27:55 meant a personal best and the best European time recorded this year.
Eva Vrabcová-Nývltová (who was 14th in the IAAF World Championships marathon.) finished the race just one second away from her best Birell Prague Grand Prix time. She was still relatively satisfied with her result of 33:08. "I have to admit that today's race hurt a bit. For the last three months, I haven't been training for speed and that showed today. I'd heard that this was going to be a race about smashing world records and so expected to have to sprint; which turned out to be right. Huge congratulations to Joyciline -- it's an amazing result for her and the organisers and I'd would like to congratulate everyone for their efforts," the winning Czech declared at the finish.
When it came to the Czech men, Jiří Homoláč lived up to the expectations on paper. "I finished in 30:14 which is my best on this course. Despite not being an entirely top class time, I ran well and am pleased as part of my marathon training," said Jiří Homoláč, speaking of his impressions from the race.
The main race, the Birell 10 km Race (awarded the IAAF Gold Label) was preceded by the five-kilometre adidas Women's Race. This was won by Barbora Jíšová (17:56).
TOP 10 MEN
1. Bernard Kimeli | KEN | 27:10
2. Methew Kipkorir Kimeli| KEN | 27:11
3. Rhonex Kipruto | KEN | 27:13
4. Justus Kangogo | KEN | 27:51
5. Amos Kibiwot Kurgat | KEN | 27:53
6. Jamal Yimer Mekonnen| ETH | 27:54
7. Sondre Nordstad Moen | NOR | 27:55
8. Isaac Kipkoech Langat | KEN | 27:55
9. Robert Kipchichir Mwei | KEN | 28:05
10. Abel Kipchumba | KEN | 28:06
TOP 10 WOMEN
1. Joyciline Jepkosgei | KEN | 29:43
2. Fancy Chemutai | KEN | 30:06
3. Violah Jepchumba| BRN | 30:25
4. Sheila Chepkirui Kiprotich | KEN | 30:28
5. Stacy Chepkemboi Ndiwa | KEN | 31:37
6. Belaynesh Tsegaye | ETH | 32:52
7. Eva Vrabcová-Nývltová | CZE | 33:08
8. Iulia Shmatenko | UKR | 33:18
9. Olga Skrypak | UKR | 34:01
10. Kayoko Fukushi | JAP | 34:44