The three Rwandan athletes found the going predictably tough on their debut at the IAAF/Trinidad Alfonso World Half Marathon Championships held in Valencia, Spain on Saturday.
John Hakizimana was the country’s best ranked athlete as he managed a distant 34th position to clock his personal best of 1:02:26 in the competition which was full of thrills and drama as Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor romped away over the final six kilometres to secure his third successive world title over the distance.
Noel Hitimana finished 42nd also clocked a personal best of 1:02:53 while David Gakuru finished 110th with a personal best of 1:07:02 in the race which attracted 160 athletes.
The trio’s performance earned Rwanda a 16th place finish in the team rankings. The team scores are tabulated by the aggregate finishing time for each nation’s top three runners.
Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya won his third consecutive IAAF World Half Marathon Championship title in 1:00:02 with some astonishing finishing splits.
The 25-year-old King of the Half Marathon reportedly split the second 10,000m of the race in 27:46, which included a 13:01 5000m between 15,000m and 20,000m.
The effort was enough to put a solid 20-second gap on the field; Abraham Cheroben of Bahrain ran 1:00:22 for second place and Aron Kifle of Eritrea ran 1:00:31 for third.
Eslwhere, Netsanet Kebede of Ethiopia broke the women’s-only world with a time of 1:06:11 to win the women category.
She is the third woman from Ethiopia to claim the individual gold at the event. The previous women’s-only world record of 1:06:25 was set by Lornah Kiplagat in 2007.
By 20,000m, Kebede increased her lead by 40 seconds over Kamulu and Jepkosgei with a1:02:53 split and was well clear of her competition as she roared through the final straightaway to the finish line.
Jepkosgei rallied to pass Kamulu with about a kilometer remaining and would end up second in1:06:54 as Kamulu ran 1:06:56.
The top three team positions went to Ethiopia, Kenya and Bahrain.