Jacob Kiplimo, the reigning world cross-country champion from Uganda, made an emphatic return to the racing scene by delivering an outstanding performance at the NN Zevenheuvelenloop in Nijmegen on Sunday. Kiplimo’s display equaled the world’s 15-kilometer record, clocking an impressive time of 41 minutes and 5 seconds.
After battling through an injury that sidelined him during the World Championships in Budapest and the World Road Running Championships in Riga, Kiplimo marked his comeback at the end of the previous month with a strong victory at the Cross Country Tour Gold meeting in Atapuerca.
During this recent race, Kiplimo displayed dominance, securing a victory with a remarkable lead of 99 seconds, matching the world-best time set five years ago by fellow Ugandan, Joshua Cheptegei.
Starting cautiously, Kiplimo maintained a controlled pace, keeping in mind a challenging incline between the 3.5km and 5km marks. He reached the 3km mark in 8 minutes and 42 seconds, trailing Cheptegei’s 2018 pace by 23 seconds. By the 5km mark, timing in at 14 minutes and 24 seconds, Kiplimo surged ahead, leaving compatriot Rogers Kibet struggling to keep pace.
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Taking the lead shortly after the 5km mark, Kiplimo powered ahead solo. He reached the 8km checkpoint in 22 minutes and 31 seconds, enjoying a 24-second lead. At the 10km mark, he recorded a time of 27 minutes and 49 seconds, mirroring Cheptegei’s historic performance. Subsequently, Kiplimo’s pace varied slightly, at times surpassing the course record pace and at times falling behind.
A final kilometer sprint in 2 minutes and 31 seconds, his fastest of the race, culminated in Kiplimo finishing strong at 41 minutes and 5 seconds. Kibet held onto second place, completing a Ugandan one-two finish with a time of 42 minutes and 44 seconds.
While Kiplimo’s 41:05 finish stands as the fastest ever in a standalone 15km race, it’s noteworthy that during his half marathon world record in Lisbon in 2021, he clocked a 15km split of 40 minutes and 27 seconds.
In the women’s category, world steeplechase record-holder Beatrice Chepkoech secured a commanding victory, crossing the finish line in 47 minutes and 12 seconds, with a 43-second lead over Israel’s Lonah Salpeter.