A 21-year-old state running record fell Saturday night on Columbia’s Main Street.
Emmanuel Bor, a 19-year-old runner from Kenya who trains in Chapel Hill, N.C., completed the 8-kilometer Main Street Crit in 22:39, shattering the previous record – set by Jim Farmer of Raleigh in the 1992 Governor’s Cup race – by 34 seconds.
Bor now holds the South Carolina “all comers” record, meaning it is the fastest time ever posted in an 8K race in South Carolina, according to Jordan Lybrand, chief operating officer for Strictly Running, the Columbia company that timed the race. Steve Kartalia of Pendleton is the fastest South Carolinian to ever run an 8K, with a 23:24 in the Mayfest Quest in 1992.
Bor’s time – an average pace of 4:34 per mile – was also the seventh-fastest time in the world in 2013, according to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians.
“He absolutely crushed the record,” Lybrand said. “That’s pretty significant, especially for a record that has been standing since 1992.”
"That was my best time,” Bor said. I have never run a time like that one. I did not know I had broke the record. That is wonderful for me.”
If race organizers have their way, it won’t be the last time S.C. running records are broken in Columbia.
The Main Street Crit – which just completed its second race Saturday night – aims to create an elite event for professional runners from across the country. Winners in the elite race split $8,000 in prize money, including $1,000 for Bor, provided by sponsors like Aflac and Merrill Lynch.. Twenty-year-old Sophy Jepchirchir, also of Kenya, won the women’s race with a time of 26:14, or an average pace-per-mile of 5:17.
“This is just another example of the top caliber runners we can recruit,” race organizer Steven Johnson said.
The “crit” in Main Street Crit is short for “criterium,” a race normally associated with cycling. Athletes run laps around a 1 kilometer course along Main, Hampton, Sumter and Blanding streets. Not anyone can run the elite race. You have to have a qualifying time at least 15:45 5K for men, or an 18:10 5K for women. The event also includes an open 5K race – won by Lexington’s Jason Dimery in 17:09 and Columbia’s Mary Claire Cox in 19:42 – and a kid’s race
“To have a record that’s stood for 21 years broken right here on Main Street is phenomenal,” Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said. “What’s even more remarkable is that a race this young is already attracting athletes of that caliber. I think that speaks volumes about our running community, the future of this race and the potential for sports and athletic tourism in Columbia.”
Bor is not the only runner breaking records in Columbia this month, according to Lybrand.
At the Governor’s Cup 8K on Nov. 9, Mark and Ruth Marie Embler – a husband and wife duo from North Charleston – set S.C. records for the 55 to 59 age groups with a 28:47 and 33:56, respectively.
Reach Beam at (803) 386-7038.