Meb Keflezighi ran 1:03:02 at Sunday's Rock 'n' Roll San Jose Half Marathon to set a new American masters record. The previous record was 1:03:23 by Mbarak Hussein. Keflezighi's 20K split during the race, 59:43, was under the old U.S. masters best for that distance.
Keflezighi finished second to Jordan Chipangama of Zambia, who won in 1:03:00. On May 31, three weeks after Keflezighi turned 40, Chipangama defeated him by the same margin at the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon. Although Keflezighi's time in San Diego, 1:02:29, was faster than in San Jose, it doesn't count as the masters record because San Diego's course has too-great of a net elevation drop. (His 15K and 10-mile splits of 44:23 and 47:39 at San Diego in May are U.S. masters marks, because the first part of the course meets record-eligibility requirements.)
Keflezighi and Chipangama, who is based in Flagstaff, Arizona, and is trying to obtain U.S. citizenship, were alone in front by the eighth mile. Keflezighi tried to break Chipangama on a hill in the 10th mile, but was unable to drop the 26-year-old, who surged ahead for the win in the last 400 meters.
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"At mile eight 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," Keflezighi said.
Keflezighi used the San Jose race as a tune-up for the New York City Marathon on November 1. The 2014 Boston Marathon winner, who lives in San Diego, will train at altitude in Mammoth Lakes, California, until traveling to New York for the marathon.
At the event's 5K on Saturday, Deena Kastor tied Colleen De Reuck's American masters record of 15:48. Kastor, 42, finished third overall.
Kastor will target another De Reuck record in two weeks at the Chicago Marathon, where she'll attempt to better the U.S. masters marathon best of 2:28:40.
Scott is a veteran running, fitness, and health journalist who has held senior editorial positions at Runner’s World and Running Times. Much of his writing translates sport science research and elite best practices into practical guidance for everyday athletes. He is the author or coauthor of several running books, including Running Is My Therapy, Advanced Marathoning, and Meb for Mortals. Scott has also written about running for Slate, The Atlantic, the Washington Post, and other members of the sedentary media. His lifetime running odometer is past 110,000 miles, but he’s as much in love as ever.