Sondre Nordstad Moen extended what has been a glorious year for Norwegian athletics when he clocked 59:48 in the Valencia Half Marathon on Sunday to move up to third on the European all-time lists, and become the second fastest European ever on a record-legal course after Mo Farah’s European record of 59:32 set in Lisbon two years ago.
After the successes on the track of world 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm and the Ingebrigtsen brothers, the 26-year-old Moen moved the focus of attention to the roads in the Spanish city.
After passing 10km in 27:55, which equalled his personal best over the distance set barely a month ago in Prague, he went on to finish fourth in a race won by Kenya’s Abraham Cheroben in 59:11.
"I am very pleased with my achievement, which is the consequence of my choice to dedicate all my time and energy to training for this race," reflected the delighted Moen, who had prepared for Sunday's race by spending much of the last six weeks at altitude in the Italian alpine town of Sestriere.
"I was never overconfident about what I could do but very conscious of the importance of having a professional approach and behaviour, and I planned the whole season and my main objectives with coach Renato Canova.
"It was my coach who gave me the advice to follow the front runners and just listen to my body, and forget about the stopwatch," he added.
In addition to, making an impact on the continental lists, the 2011 European U23 10,000m champion smashed the previous Norwegian record of 1:02:13 which had stood to Geir Kvernmo since 1988.
It was a stunning breakthrough for Moen, who has also won medals in the U20 and U23 ranks at the Spar European Cross Country Championships, having a previous best of 1:02:19 from last year’s Nice Half Marathon.
Moen’s next target is to improve his national marathon record of 2:10:07 set in the Hannover Marathon in April. He plans to race again over the classic distance at an undisclosed marathon before the end of the year.
14,200 runners were entered for the 27th edition of the race, which was notable for w women's world record ofof 1:04:51 by Kenya's Joyciline Jepkosgei. Spain's Trihas Gebre was the leading European running in 1:09:55 for sixth place.