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Claire Hallissey

16 October 2010

Claire Hallissey (coach: George Buckheit) clocked 73:07 to finish an impressive 18th in hot and humid conditions in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Nanning, China this morning.

Hallissey, second European behind Poland's Karolina Jarzynska in 17th, went through the opening 5k as part of a large pack in 32nd (17:02) with the leading group of ten charging through in 15:53 in spite of the hot and humid conditions.

As the leaders reached 10k in 32:32 the temperature had increased to 21C (69% humidity) but Hallissey, who had gained 11 places to 21st, stuck to her race plan and passed through alone in 34:22.

The lead quartet reached 15km in 48:42 with Hallissey, now up to 18th, three seconds clear of Eritrea's Eden Tesfalem in 51:37. She held her position through 20km (69:25) and crossed the line 30 seconds clear of the USA's Stephanie Rothstein.

"I felt strong and I enjoyed the race," said Hallissey who will step up to the full marathon distance in New York in three weeks time, "but it would have been nice to have someone to push me in the later stages."

"I broke away from the large group after 5km and it was a bit lonely towards the end - I definitely could have done with something to keep me going because unfortunately there wasn't much of a crowd; that definitely has an impact, because it ends up being a bit of a tempo run."

Rothstein, who finished in 19th (73:37), is coached by Greg McMillan and trains with Andrew Lemoncello's group in Flagstaff, Arizona, but Lemoncello - who was refused a Visa for entry to China - was unable to compete.

Hallissey, also US-based, believes her Virginia base contributed to how well she coped with the conditions in Nanning.

"It could have been worse out there," she said. "It was overcast so we didn't have the sun to contend with. I've got used to running in high humidity out in Virginia so I felt like I had acclimitised a bit."

"I'm loving it out there - it's so great for marathon training," she continued. "My aim is to step up to the marathon; 2012 is calling, it may be too soon, but that's my aim if the transition goes well."

Kenya's Florence Kiplagat, having started as favourite in only her second outing over the distance, outkicked Ethiopia's Dire Tune over the last 800m to take the women's title in 1:08:24 and lead Kenya to their fourth team title in the last five years. It was her second global title in two years following her 2009 World Cross Country Championships victory in Jordan.

Wilson Kiprop took the men's title in 1:00:07 - the first Kenyan to have done so since 2004 - and put an end to Zersenay Tadese's reign after four consecutive wins at the event.

For full results: www.iaaf.org