WINFORCE athlete Julien Wanders smashed Mo Farah’s European record in the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon on Friday (8) morning, clocking 59:13 to break the previous mark of 59:32 which was set in the Lisbon Half Marathon in 2015.
Wanders finished fourth behind Kenya’s Stephen Kiprop (58:42) and Ethiopians Abadi Hadis (58:44) and Fikadu Haftu (59:08). "The only thing is I was fourth! I just missed out on the podium but otherwise I'm happy," he said after the race.
Eleven athletes eclipsed the one hour-mark including former SPAR European cross country champion Kaan Kigen Ozbilen from Turkey whose time of 59:48 was also a national record.
After passing through 10km in 28:11, Wanders picked up the pace drastically with a 13:46 split to reach the 15km mark in 41:56, putting Farah’s mark within his grasp. Wanders’ split at 20km of 56:03 was 24 seconds faster than Farah’s corresponding mark in Lisbon four years ago and the 22-year-old Swiss came home comfortably inside Farah’s now-beaten mark of 59:32.
This was Wanders’ fourth European record in the space of twelve months. His hot streak began in the Barcelona Half Marathon last February when he set a European U23 record of 60:09 before two European records over 10km: 27:32 in Durban and then 27:25 in Houilles.
Wanders told reporters before the race his shape was better than it was before Houilles and he covered the 10km segment between five and fifteen kilometres in 27:44.“That feeling is amazing! I’m so happy today; I can’t say anything else expect...more to come!” Wanders said on his Instagram page.
Wanders’ next race will be the Herculis 5km road race in Monaco on 17 February when he could challenge the European record of 13:26.