Meb Keflezighi Breaks U.S. Masters Half Marathon Record at 10th Annual Rock ’n’ Roll San Jose

  • 49ers Legend Roger Craig runs half marathon with San Jose Mayor Liccardo
  • Eight men and four women secured an Olympic Trials qualifying time
  • Deena Kastor paces the 1:45 minute half marathon group

MebCelebrating its 10th anniversary, the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon welcomed more than 14,000 runners over race weekend. In addition to a field of world-class elite athletes and nearly 100 runners vying for an Olympic Trials qualifying time, 49ers legend Roger Craig (joined San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo in running the half marathon today.

Running side by side through the Rose Garden neighborhood of San Jose just before Mile 10 on Sunday morning, Meb Keflezighi took a glance at Jordan Chipangama to his right before putting his head down and charging up a small incline.

The surge didn’t phase the 26-year-old Chipangama as he easily matched strides with the cagey 40-year-old from San Diego. The two continued on together past Mile 12 before Chipangama tightened the screws and pulled away from Keflezighi in the final quarter mile to win the Rock ’n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon in 1 hour, 3 minutes. Keflezighi crossed two seconds later, breaking Mbarak Hussein’s U.S. Masters half-marathon record of 63:23. It was the same margin Chipangama defeated Keflezighi by at the Suja Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon on May 31. Daniel Tapia, 28, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., finished third in a personal best 1:03:39.

“It’s good to be back here in San Jose,” said Keflezighi, who also broke the U.S. Masters 20K record en route, clocking 59:43. “At mile 8 I was going for the win but I knew I didn’t have it at that point. I just told myself to concentrate and go for the [American] record. It was close. I wish I could have gone for the world record [1:02:28] but I’m happy to have the American record.”

The race got off to a quick start, as five men passed through the mile in 4:42. By 5K (14:53) it was down to three—Keflezighi, Chipangama and Tapia—as two packs chasing the Olympic Trials standard of 65 minutes formed in the background. The first of those groups caught up to the three leaders by 10K and eight men passed the 6.2-mile mark together in 29:55. Determined to keep the lead group as tight as possible, Keflezighi, Chipangama and Tapia opened up a small gap into mile 7, before a 4:45 split from mile 7 to 8 dropped Tapia and made it a two-man race to the finish line.

Chipangama, a native of Zambia who is hoping to have his U.S. citizenship in time for the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon next February, was pleased with how the race played out and to take home his second Rock ’n’ Roll Series victory of 2015.

“The hardest part of the race was in the middle,” said Chipangama, who sports a 62:24 half-marathon personal best. “The last mile was probably the easiest because I knew he couldn’t outkick me. [Meb] is a great a guy. He has endurance, he has the speed but he doesn’t have the turnover like I do now. I knew taking it into the last mile that it was going to be my race. I always look forward to opportunity to race with Meb. It’s an honor for me to race with him and I hope one day to do what he has done.”

In the women’s race, Aliphine Tuliamk Bolton, a 26-year-old Kenyan who trains in Santa Fe, N.M., alongside reigning Boston Marathon champion Caroline Rotich, pulled away from 35-year-old Adriana Nelson of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., at the 3-mile mark to win easily in 1:11:26.

After going through 5K in 16:24, Bolton extended her 4-second lead to 43 over the next 3.1 miles, a gap which held steady the rest of the way to the finish line.

“I heard it was a fast course, but I was hoping for a faster time,” said Bolton, who was targeting a finishing time in the 68 or 69-minute range. “I didn’t feel like it was hilly or anything. But it was a beautiful course and the people who were cheering and dancing were amazing. I was impressed by the crowds.”

Nelson held on for second in 1:12:08, while Joanna Thompson of Raleigh, N.C. rounded out the top three in 1:15:10.

Out of the nearly 100 runners racing for a time to qualify for the Olympic Trials, only eight men and three women succeeded. American record-holder Deena Kastor paced the 1:45 minute group in the half marathon today, following a record-setting day yesterday as she tied the women’s U.S. Master’s Half Marathon Record.

 

Top-10 Men’s Half Marathon Results:

Place, Name, Age, Location, Time

  1. Jordan Chipangama, 26, Zambia, 1:03:00
  2. Meb Keflezighi, 40, San Diego, CA, 1:03:02
  3. Daniel Tapia, 28, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 1:03:39
  4. Nicholas Hilton, 26, Flagstaff, AZ, 1:03:43
  5. Matt Daniels, 27, Evergreen, CO, 1:03:43
  6. Tesfaye Alemayehu, 31, Ethiopia, 1:03:49
  7. Danny Mercado, Flagstaff, AZ, 1:04:04
  8. Jarrett Le Blanc, 25, Woodlands, TX, 1:04:37
  9. P. Slater, 24, Pasadena, CA, 1:05:02
  10. Dylan Wykes, 32, Canada, 1:05:10

 

Top-10 Women’s Half Marathon Results:

Place, Name, Age, Location, Time

  1. Aliphine Tuliamuk Bolton, 26, Kenya, 1:11:26
  2. Adriana Nelson, 35, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 1:12:08
  3. Joanna Thompson, 23, Raleigh, NC, 1:05:11
  4. Natasha LaBeaud, 28, Canada, 1:15:19
  5. Maor Tiyouri, 25, Israel, 1:15:24
  6. Olivia Mickle, 24, Beaverton, OR, 1:15:25
  7. Rachel Jaten, 20, Spokane, WA, 1:16:47
  8. Amy Schnittger, 25, Watsonville, CA, 1:16:55
  9. Kate Schwartz, 30, Tucson, AZ, 1:17:03
  10. Tasha Williams, 1:17:26