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Alistair Cragg breaks the Irish Half Marathon record in New York Half Marathon

Alistair finished a very close 6th in New York earlier to-day in a time of 60:49 breaking Martin Fagans Irish Record of 60:57. It was also a personal best by more than a minute. He was with the leading pack until 15K when Great Britain Mo Farah, an Olympic track runner making his half-marathon debut, built a ten-meter lead before the group reeled him back in. Rupp, Farah training partner in coach Alberto Salazar Oregon Project, moved up next. Then the resurging Kamais fought his way to the front. But the odds-on favorite, ING New York City Marathon 2010 champion Gebre Gebremariam, covered each move, waiting to use the sprint finish that had won him the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country Championship and four major American road-race titles last year.

At 10 miles, Farah and Rupp accelerated down the West Side Highway and everyone but Gebremariam was dropped. With 400 meters left they were still three abreast, and then, inevitably, Gebremariam sprinted. Rupp could not respond, and Farah was five meters back; the race seemed over. But then Farah kicked hard and powered past Gebremariam to win by two seconds in 1:00:23, the third-fastest time in the races history. Rupp took third with an excellent 1:00:30 debut performance.

Kara Goucher, the American Olympian returning to top-level racing after giving birth in September, ran amongst the leading women through Central Park, watching veterans like ING New York City Marathon 2010 champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya and 2003 IAAF World Cross Country champion Werknesh Kidane of Ethiopia trade the lead. Caroline Rotich, a Kenyan with a relatively modest personal best of 1:10:23, ran calmly among them. She had trained at altitude in Santa Fe, NM, and was fitter than that time suggested.

Eight women turned onto Seventh Avenue together. Kiplagat led onto the West Side Highway, and then Rotich reached her side and they shifted to a new gear and were alone in front. Soon Rotich\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s new fitness became obvious: She ran the twelfth mile in 5:05, and Kiplagat fell away. Rotich smiled as her lead grew; she broke the tape in 1:08:52—faster by 1:31 than she\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'d ever run and a course record by 33 seconds. Goucher, finishing strongly, closed on Kiplagat near the finish; the Kenyan prevailed, 1:09:00 to 1:09:03.