Zersenay Tadese and Lornah Kiplagat brilliantly defended their IAAF World Half-Marathon Championship titles with runaway victories in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
The Eritrean and Dutch stars used almost identical tactics when stretching their opponents in the early stages of their races to collect winner’s purses of 30,000 US dollars (£17,598).
Tadese, who opened up a 30-second lead after 10 kilometres, scorched to a sub-one hour time of 59 minutes 56 seconds to destroy the ambitions of Patrick Makau Musyoki and Ahmad Hassan Abdullah.
The Kenyan matched his runner-up feat of last year by clocking one hour, one minute and 54 seconds while the Qatari bronze medallist finished in a season’s best 1:01:57.
The dominant Kenyans took team honours for the third successive year, their three counters posting a mark of three hours seven minutes and 24 seconds.
Eritrea and Ethiopia repeated their silver and bronze medal performances at the previous championships in 3:09:40 and 3:10:52.
“This was a race I was determined to win and yes, I did prepare specially for it,” said 26-year-old Tadese, effectively clinching a third successive global title having claimed the now-defunct IAAF World Road Running crown over 20km two years ago.
Kiplagat also stood head and shoulders above the opposition in her 13.1 mile race when after forcing a fast pace through the first 5km uphill stretch, she accelerated two kilometres later to destroy her rivals.
“I just wanted to get away and not place myself under any pressure as happened last year,” said Kenya-born Kiplagat, who has represented Holland since 2003 after marrying coach Pieter Langerhorst.
Kiplagat’s scorching pace in a perfect racing temperature of 25 degrees saw her roar to a season’s best of 1:08:37 to decisively win ahead of Aselefech Mergia and Pamela Chepchumba.