African-based Kiwi Zane Robertson has run a sensationally quick half marathon in finishing second at the Marugame half marathon in Kagawa, Japan.
Robertson, bronze medallist in the 5000m at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, battled for the lead throughout the international race with a number of Kenyan and Japanese athletes before settling down to duel out the last few kilometres with Japan-based Kenyan Paul Kuira. Robertson took the lead briefly towards the finish, before being run down by the Kenyan in the last 20 metres. Both runners recorded 59:47 for the 21.1km distance.
Amazingly, both Robertson and Kuira were running their debut half marathons.
The time for the former Hamilton athlete is 2 minutes 25 seconds faster than the listed NZ record of Rod Dixon, set in the USA in 1981 and also beats the previous Oceania record of Australian Darren Wilson at 60:02.
The world all-time rankings in the half marathon are completely dominated by Africans with the world record belonging to Eritraen Zersenay Tadese at 58.23, but the 25 year old Robertson becomes just the fourth non-African to run the distance in under one hour.
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Robertson will be returning to New Zealand to race over 5000m at the Auckland Track Challenge against his twin brother Jake, Nick Willis, Augustine Choge from Kenya and several leading Australians on 26 February and at the New Zealand Championships in Wellington 6-8 March.
Australian Eloise Wellings won the women's race in 70:41.