Malindi Elmore runs PB, finishes fourth at Japan’s Gifu Half Marathon

Malindi Elmore

Canada’s Malindi Elmore ran a massive PB on Sunday at the Gifu Half Marathon in Japan, posting a final time of 1:10:11 and finishing fourth overall. Elmore’s result is the fourth-fastest in Canadian history, and it was just 14 seconds back from Ethiopian great Tirunesh DibabaIt’s final time. (Dibaba finished in third in 1:09:57.) Kenya’s Dolphine Nyaboke Omare won the race in convincing fashion, crossing the line in 1:08:18 and more than 90 seconds ahead of second place.

Elmore’s PB

Elmore entered the Gifu Half with a PB of 1:11:08, which put her at seventh all-time among Canadian women. She ran a great race in Gifu, hanging with the leaders (minus Omare, who was well ahead of the field) and coming close to the podium. Her final time works out to an average pace of 3:20 per kilometre.

Elmore now sits behind only three Canadian women in the national half-marathon rankings. Third place belongs to Rachel Cliff, whose PB of 1:10:06 is just a few seconds faster than Elmore’s new best. Second goes to Natasha Wodak, who ran 1:09:41 in Jan. 2020 and owned the Canadian national record for two weeks before Andrea Seccafien ran 1:09:38 in early February that same year. Like Elmore, both Cliff and Seccafien ran their PBs at Japanese half-marathons.

Dibaba’s comeback

Dibaba is one of the all-time greats of the sport. She has six Olympic medals (three gold, three bronze) and six world championship medals (five gold, one silver) to her name, but before the start of this season, she hadn’t raced since 2018. Her long hiatus from professional sport came to an end in February, when she ran the Houston Half Marathon (she finished in 15th in 1:11:35). She continued her comeback on Sunday in Gifu, where she laid down a spectacular effort, especially for someone who’s coming off a five-year break.

Tirunesh Dibaba will debut at the 2014 London Marathon.
Tirunesh Dibaba at the London 2012 Olympics. Photo: Nick Webb.

Like Elmore, Dibaba did a great job of staying with the lead chase pack in Gifu, holding her own through the entire race and setting herself up with a shot at the podium in the closing kilometres. She couldn’t sneak into second place (Kenya’s Helen Ekarare Lobun beat her to it), but Dibaba did secure the final spot on the podium, crossing the line in 1:09:57. There’s no word on where she’ll race next (or what her long-term plans are for this comeback), but there’s no denying that she looks strong.

For full results from the Gifu Half Marathon, click here.

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