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Wanders breaks European U23 half marathon record in Barcelona

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Julien Wanders produced another outstanding performance on the roads at the eDreams Barcelona Half Marathon, a five-star certified race by European Athletics Running for All, on Sunday (11) morning.

Wanders produced a string of high profile victories on the European road racing circuit across November and December, most notably at the Corrida de Houilles on New Year’s Eve when he set a Swiss 10km record of 28:02 to defeat Ethiopia's Jemal Yimer, and the 21-year-old has reaped the rewards of another trip to high altitude in Kenya with another landmark performance.

As Ethiopia’s Mule Wasihun ran out victorious in 59:44 to break Eliud Kipchoge’s course record, Wanders was second across the finish-line in 60:09. Not only was his time the fastest by a European athlete in 2018, Wanders also broke the Swiss record held by reigning European marathon champion Tadesse Abraham at 60:42 as well as the European U23 record held by Turkey’s Ali Kaya at 60:16.

Wanders now only has five European athletes ahead of him on the world all-time lists: Mo Farah (59:22), Antonio Pinto (59:43), Sondre Nordstad Moen (59:48), Fabian Roncero (59:52) and Callum Hawkins (60:00).

Wanders went with the pace from the gun, passing through the early stages in a fast tempo: 5km in 14:23, 10km in 28:36 (14:13 5km) and 15km in 42:47 (14:11 5km). It was only in the latter stages that Wasihun made his break but Wanders maintained his pace through 20km in 57:07 (14:20 5km), holding off Ugandans Moses Kurong (60:10) and Abdallah Mande (60:18) for a very creditable runner-up finish.

Wanders will return to Iten,Kenya for another training stint before returning to Spain next month for the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia on 24 March. He is also aiming to compete on the track at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships this August in either the 5000m or 10,000m.

Further back, Brits Ben Connor and Luke Traynor were eighth and ninth respectively with lifetime bests of 61:12 and 61:57 while teammate Sonia Samuels was the leading European finisher in the women’s race in seventh in 72:40.


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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