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2009 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships
IAAF World Half Marathon Championships
Host city Birmingham, England
Date(s) 2009-10-11
Race length 21.0975 kilometres
Individual Prize Money (US$) 1st: 30,000
2nd: 15,000
3rd: 10,000
4th: 7,000
5th: 5,000
6th: 3,000
Team Prize Money (US$) 1st: 15,000
2nd: 12,000
3rd: 9,000
4th: 7,500
5th: 6,000
6th: 3,000

The 2009 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships was held in Birmingham, United Kingdom on 11 October 2009. It was the final event of the International Association of Athletics Federations' 2009 World Athletics Series.[1]



The city of Birmingham was selected by the IAAF Council after a presentation by UK Athletics and the Birmingham City Council.[2] It was the third time the championships were held in Great Britain, after the 1992 event on Tyneside and the 2001 edition in Bristol.[3] A number of events were scheduled to coincide with the Championships: a three day convention for Association of International Marathons and Distance Races, as well as an IAAF press conference to discuss the future and progression of the sport.[4]

In addition to the main World Championship races, the Birmingham Half Marathon started thirty minutes after the women's World Championship race. Organised by Birmingham City Council and sponsored by EDF Energy, it was the second edition of the mass race which attracted over 9000 runners in 2008.[4] A total of 12,068 people signed up to run the Birmingham Half Marathon.[5]

A total of 47 IAAF member federations sent athletes to the championships, the highest number since the 2002 edition.[4]


The men's race and women's race started at BST 9.00 am and 9:30 am, respectively.[6] The course passed through Birmingham city centre and the city's southern suburbs, Centenary Square acting as the start and end point of the race. Highlights along the route included Cannon Hill Park, Cadbury World and the Bournville model village, Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Victoria Square and the Bull Ring.[7] The course is largely straight and flat, although there is an abrupt descent and ascent at the start and finish of the route, and slight rises and falls between the 10 and 16 km marks around Selly Park.[8]




Zersenay Tadese entered the competition as the favourite, having won the 2007 and 2008 races

Eritrean runner Zersenay Tadese, who had won the last two World Half Marathons as well as the 20 km race in 2006, announced that he would attempt to defend his title and his chances improved after world leader Patrick Makau Musyoki was not listed from the Kenyan squad.[9] The defending women's champion Lornah Kiplagat did not attempt to defend her title due to a knee injury, and three time champion Paula Radcliffe filled the void, aiming for a record fourth title.[10] However, she too withdrew from the event due to tonsillitis, dealing a blow to the host nation's chances.[11][12]

Tadese was the outright favourite of the men's race, with his greatest challenge coming from Kenyans Sammy Kitwara, Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich and Bernard Kiprop Kipyego, Ethiopians Tilahun Regassa and Dereje Tesfaye. Dathan Ritzenhein, Fabiano Joseph Naasi and Marilson dos Santos were other outside chances. The Kenyan and Eritrean men's teams were favoured for the gold and silver team medals, while the team's from Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda were suggested as possible bronze medallists. Unusually, Qatar (whose team placed third in 2008) did not send any runners to the competition.[13]

In the women's race, Kenyan Mary Jepkosgei Keitany was the favourite in the absence of Kiplagat and Radcliffe. Keitany went into the championships as the world's leading half marathon runner, having run 1:07:00 seconds earlier in the season, and the race was seen as a chance for her to make her mark over the distance. The next fastest runner that season was her compatriot Philes Ongori, although her time of 1:07:50 was some way off Keitany's. Two more possible medallists, Filomena Cheyech and Caroline Cheptanui Kilel rounded out a strong Kenyan squad. The Ethiopian team was missing two of their best runners (Dire Tune and Aselefech Mergia), but Abebu Gelan and Aberu Kebebe were still in medal contention. The Japanese athletes, Yukiko Akaba and Yurika Nakamura, looked to maintain Japan's past podium form in the team competition. New Zealand's Kimberley Smith was regarded as an unknown quantity, as she was moving to the road competitions after much success on the track.[14]

At the pre-race press conference the IAAF General Secretary, Pierre Weiss, lamented the relative lack of interest in the competition, vocalising the IAAF's dissatisfaction with the number of competing athletes and federations. He acknowledged that the competition's prize money was not at parity with other top level marathons. Wilson Kipketer, the 800 metres world record holder, pointed out that the standard of Europe's long-distance runners had been largely surpassed by other region's athletes, most notably by Africa. Kipketer argued that Europeans were not making the most of their sporting facilities and were "not training properly or timing and planning their seasons properly". Ed Warner, chairman of UK Athletics, agreed that a rethink was needed in terms of training and mindset.[15]

Race results


Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
Gold medal icon.svg Zersenay Tadese  Eritrea 59:35 CR
Silver medal icon.svg Bernard Kipyego  Kenya 59:59
Bronze medal icon.svg Dathan Ritzenhein  United States 1:00:00 PB
4 Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich  Kenya 1:00:08
5 Samuel Tsegay  Eritrea 1:00:17 PB
6 Wilson Kwambai Chebet  Kenya 1:00:59
7 Kiplimo Kimutai  Kenya 1:01:31 SB
8 Stephen Mokoka  South Africa 1:01:36


Rank Athlete Nationality Time Notes
Gold medal icon.svg Mary Jepkosgei Keitany  Kenya 1:06:36 CR
Silver medal icon.svg Philes Ongori  Kenya 1:07:38 PB
Bronze medal icon.svg Aberu Kebede  Ethiopia 1:07:39 PB
4 Caroline Cheptanui Kilel  Kenya 1:08:16 PB
5 Mestawet Tufa  Ethiopia 1:09:11 PB
6 Tirfi Tsegaye  Ethiopia 1:09:24 PB
7 Kimberley Smith  New Zealand 1:09:35 NR
8 Filomena Cheyech  Kenya 1:09:44

Team results


Rank Country Team Time
Gold medal icon.svg  Kenya Bernard Kipyego
Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich
Wilson Kwambai Chebet
Silver medal icon.svg  Eritrea Zersenay Tadese
Samuel Tsegay
Adhanom Abraha
Bronze medal icon.svg  Ethiopia Tilahun Regassa
Dereje Tesfaye
Abebe Negewo


Rank Country Team Time Notes
Gold medal icon.svg  Kenya Mary Keitany
Philes Ongori
Caroline Cheptanui Kilel
3:22:30 CR
Silver medal icon.svg  Ethiopia Aberu Kebede
Mestawet Tufa
Tirfi Tsegaye
Bronze medal icon.svg  Russia Inga Abitova
Silvia Skvortsova
Elza Kireeva


  1. ^ Tadese Set For Birmingham Defence. Sporting Life (2009-09-28). Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  2. ^ "World Half Marathon Champs awarded to Birmingham – World Athletics Final to Thessaloniki - Council Meeting Day 2". IAAF. 2008-04-02.  
  3. ^ Event History. Official 2009 WHM website (2009-07-05). Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  4. ^ a b c 47 Member Federations set to compete in Birmingham. IAAF (2009-10-05). Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  5. ^ Tyle, Jane (2009-09-29). Entries for second EDF Birmingham Half Marathon up by third. Birmingham Post. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  6. ^ $245,000 Prize Money; Course Route and Profile; Team Scoring – World Half Marathon. IAAF (2009-10-07). Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  7. ^ 18th IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Proposed Route. IAAF (2009-10-07). Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  8. ^ Route Profile. Official 2009 WHM website (2009-07-05). Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  9. ^ Turner, Chris (2009-09-28). Three-time reigning champion Tadese set to defend titles in Birmingham – World Half Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  10. ^ Turner, Chris (2009-10-01). In absence of defending champion, history beckons for Radcliffe – World Half Marathon. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  11. ^ Radcliffe to miss half marathon. BBC Sport (2009-10-05). Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  12. ^ No World Half Marathon for Radcliffe who is sidelined by tonsillitis. IAAF (2009-10-05). Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  13. ^ Turner, Chris (2009-10-08). Men's Race Preview - World Half Marathon, Birmingham 2009. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-10-08.
  14. ^ Turner, Chris (2009-10-09). WOMEN’s RACE PREVIEW - World Half Marathon, Birmingham 2009. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-10-11.
  15. ^ Martin, Dave (2009-10-10). IAAF Press Conference – World Half Marathon Championships. IAAF. Retrieved on 2009-10-11.

External links


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