The NN Running Team has celebrated its fifth year by delivering many memorable moments this spring. Here we reflect on some of those highlights during the first few months of 2022.
Yalemzerf claims 10km world record
Brilliant Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw further reiterated her outstanding talent by destroying the world 10km road by a margin of 24 seconds to clock a blistering 29:14 in Castellon.
The 22-year-old, and the second fastest woman in history over the half marathon distance, had intended to have a stab at the world 10km record in Valencia in January only for bout of Covid to deny her the opportunity.
However, the Spanish coastal city proved to her liking as Yalemzerf, who was paced by Richard Douma of the NN Running Team, hit 3km in 8:36 – on track for a sub-29-minute time.
Passing 5km in a scintillating 14:28 – her pace marginally slowed only to then deliver a blistering final 1km split of 2:52 to propel her to the world record mark previously held by Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei.
I knew I had the world record in my legs and wanted to produce a challenging performance for any athletes who may attempt the record in the near future.
Eliud adds the fourth piece to the Abbott World Marathon Majors quest
Eliud Kipchoge added yet another chapter to his storied career by winning the Tokyo Marathon in a Japanese all-comers record of 2:02:40.
Victory ensured the 37-year-old Kenyan won a fourth Abbott World Marathon Major title to go along past triumphs in London (4), Berlin (3) and Chicago (1) and he remains on track to become the first man in history to win all six Abbott World Marathon Majors.
Producing a vintage display, Eliud made his decisive move at 36km to ease clear of his countryman Amos Kipruto and on to victory – in what was his third fastest marathon of all time and the fourth fastest ever in history.
An elated Eliud said: “I am excited to be here in Japan, especially after winning the Olympic Games in Sapporo. I really appreciated the crowd.
I said I wanted to run strong in Japan and I did, I ran a course record. I am really happy I won another major marathon.
The NN Running Team also enjoyed success in the women’s race as Ashete Bekere trimmed 20 seconds from her lifetime best to record 2:17:58 for second behind world record-holder Brigid Kosgei.
The performance elevated the 33-year-old Ethiopian to joint 11th (now 12th) on the all-time marathon lists alongside her NN Running Team team-mate Degitu Azimeraw.
Dutch records tumble in Rotterdam
On the streets of Rotterdam, Olympic silver medallist Abdi Nageeye finally claimed an elusive first marathon victory courtesy of a Dutch record time of 2:04:56.
The 33-year-old athlete edged an exhilarating final sprint for the line from his fellow NN Running Team athlete Leul Gebreselassie – who was awarded the same time – to secure a famous win.
As a measure of the quality of the run, Abdi wiped more than a minute off the Dutch record he set in Rotterdam three years earlier.
“This is a dream that seemed so far away when in 2010 I asked myself is that was I wanted to do or continue my studies, said Abdi.
I’ve had so many disappointments and so many injuries, but I’ve always believed I could do it.
Competing in only her second serious marathon Nienke Brinkmann of the NN Running Team scalped more than three-and-a-half minutes from her previous best time to run 2:22:51 to place second and lower Lornah Kiplagat’s 19-year-old national record.
Nienke was the best part of two minutes off the pace at halfway but running a patient race she finished at a ferocious pace to bank an outstanding time.
Yalemzerf impresses in the marathon
Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw produced the fastest ever women’s debut marathon to take to win the Hamburg Marathon in a stunning 2:17:23.
Running through the halfway split in 1:08:30 she only slowed marginally during the second half to record 2:17:23 – more than a minute-and-a-half faster than the previous best women’s marathon debut performance achieved 20 years earlier by Great Britain’s Paula Radcliffe.
Yalemzerf’s performance slots her in an number six on the all-time women’s lists for the classic distance and also earned her an Ethiopian record and German all-comers record mark.
Another NN Running Team athlete to enjoyed an outstanding marathon debut in Hambug was Stephen Kissa, who set a Ugandan record of 2:04:48 for second in the men’s race.
Locked in a tight battle for victory with Kenyan Cybrian Kotut, Stephen narrowly missed out on the title by just one second but had the consolation of setting a national record and kick-starting his marathon career with an outstanding performance.