Former refugee becomes Danish running champ

Abdi Hakin Ulad was the pride of the hometown crowd as he bested all other Danish competitors at Sunday's Copenhagen Half Marathon.

Former refugee becomes Danish running champ
Danish champ Abdi Hakin Ulad. Photo: Morten Germund/Scanpix
In 2001, he came to Denmark as a refugee from Somalia. On Sunday, Abdi Hakin Ulad crossed the finish line at the Copenhagen Half Marathon as the fastest Dane among the nearly 24,000 competitors. 
With a time of 1:02:48, Abdi Hakin Ulad outran all other Danish competitors through the streets of the Danish capital. He not only took the win among his countrymen on Sunday, he also claimed the fifth fastest half marathon ever ran by a Dane, according to public broadcaster DR.  
Now a Danish citizen living in the Copenhagen suburb of Hvidore, Ulad came to Denmark as a refugee 14 years ago. His finish as the fastest Dane came at a time when refugees are dominating the spotlight in Denmark. Some 125,000 Facebook users saw the video of him crossing the finish line and many used the occasion to weigh in on the current refugee debate. 
For Ulad’s part, he told public broadcaster DR that he was just happy to have had the support of his fellow Danes along the 21.097 kilometre route. 
“I’m happy that it was held in Denmark and that the spectators cheered for me the whole way. If they hadn’t been there, it would have been even harder,” he said.  
Ulad had the 16th fastest time overall in a race that was dominated by Kenyans. Bedan Karoki Muchiri was the overall winner with a time of 59:14, while his countrymen from Kenya also claimed the second through ninth spots. 
Ulad is vying to represent Denmark at the 2016 Olympics in the 10,000 metre race. 

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Copenhagen is home to fastest half marathon in history

Kenyan superstar runner Geoffrey Kamworor smashed the world record for the half marathon in Sunday’s CPH Half event.

Copenhagen is home to fastest half marathon in history
Geoffrey Kamworor crosses the finish line in Copenhagen in a world record time. Photo: CPH Half

The elite athlete powered through the streets of the Danish capital in a breathtaking time of 58:01, beating the previous record by 17 seconds and his own personal best by 53 seconds.

He was 75 seconds clear of the second-placed athlete, Bernard Kipkorir Ngeno.

“It is very emotional for me to set this record. And doing it in Copenhagen, where I won my first world title [in 2014, ed.], adds something to it,” the three-time World Half Marathon Champion said after the race.

In the women’s race, Ethiopian Birhane Dibaba Adugna took a surprise victory with a time of 1:05:57, the second-fastest time ever run on the course.

Over 23,000 people took to the streets of Copenhagen to take on the 21.1-kilometre challenge and the city’s residents came out in force in the early autumn weather to spur them on.

READ ALSO: Kenyan former world champions arrive in Denmark for Copenhagen half marathon