Norway’s Sondre Nordstad Moen continued his return to racing with a comprehensive victory at the Gdynia Half Marathon on Sunday (17), a five-star certified road race by European Athletics Running for All.
Moen said prior to the race that he would be pleased to come away with the second fastest time of his career and he did just that, breaking the tape in a course record of 61:18 with a near solo run (his lifetime best stands at 59:48 from the Valencia Half Marathon in 2017) to win by over one minute ahead of Poland’s Krystian Zalewski in 62:36.
While he might not be in the shape which propelled him to victory in the Fukuoka Marathon in 2:05:48 in December 2017, Moen has clearly recovered from the illnesses and injuries which buffeted the entirety of his 2018 season.
“Today’s competition was okay and it gives me a clear idea of where I am in my comeback. The strong wind kept me company from the start-line till the finish line. I believe that with a few more contenders and a pacemaker I could have run faster, but I’m now focused on the Prague Half Marathon,” said Moen.
The Prague Half Marathon takes place on 6 April and Moen will prepare for the second half marathon of his comeback in Monte Gordo in Portugal. In the build-up to Gdynia, Moen was based in Iten in Kenya where he has been gradually increasing his mileage.
“It was really a tough year and I really wanted to run without feeling any pain while racing,” said Moen, who dropped out of the marathon at the European Championships in Berlin due to a groin injury.
“I felt good in the first nine kilometres; afterwards I focused on feeling easy while running because of the wind. We were supposed to cross the 10 kilometres in 28:50 but I crossed alone in 29:14.
“Crossing the line first and painless - running most of the race just against myself, the wind and the clock - shows me that I’m well-prepared and motivated,” he said.
The 2020 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships will take place in Gdynia and this race acted as the dress rehearsal for next year’s championship.
“It was a great running weekend in Gdynia and an extremely important test for our team before the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships next year. I think Sondre Nordstad Moen gave us a foretaste of what we can expect next year,” said Piotr Jakobik, marketing director at the Gdynia Half Marathon.
A total of 6237 runners made it to the finish line, also setting the record for the race which debuted just three years ago.
The IAAF World Half Marathon Championships will take place in Gdynia on 29 March 2020. The countdown is already on with a giant countdown clock launched in the city centre just two days ago.
The European Athletics Quality Road Race standards act as an assurance for road runners throughout Europe. They distinguish between races that respect the standards and those that haven’t sought certification or assessment. They form the foundation of Running for All, a strong recognisable brand for running activities throughout Europe.
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