Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir is the new world half marathon record holder.
Jepchichir achieved the feat when she won the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon on Friday, clocking 1 hour, 05 minutes and 06 seconds to shatter compatriot’s Florence Kiplagat’s record by three seconds.
Kiplagat broke her own world half marathon record in Barcelona with a time of 1:05:09 in 2015.
Efforts by the Kenyan men to break the world half marathon record of 58:23 proved futile when World Half Marathon silver medallist Bedan Karoki claimed men’s victory with personal best time of 59:09.
The women’s race was simply a thriller as eight athletes including Jepchirchir and former world half record holder Mary Keitany hit the 5km together in 15:40 minutes.
It’s Jepchirchir and Keitany who commanded the lead past the 10km in 32:07 minutes before Keitany claimed the lead at 15km mark in 46:30 with Joycline Jepkosgei and Jepchirchir in pursuit with only a second separating both.
Jepchirchir, who is also the World Half Marathon champion, would take command with heading to the last two kilometres, opening a gap of 13 seconds as she covered 20kms in 1:04:40 before claiming victory and the world record. She improved her personal best by a massive 1:33 seconds.
Keitany finished second in 1:05:13, which was way off her personal best of 1:05:50 set when she won at the same course in a world record breaking feat in 2011.
Jepkosgei wrapped up the last podium place in personal best 1:06:08 as Olympic and London marathon champion Jemimah Sumgong ensured a 1-4 finish for Kenya also in personal best 1:06:43.
Three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba from Ethiopia broke Kenya’s dominance with a fifth place finish in personal best 1:06:50.
Karoki weathered the strong challenge to win by nine seconds from Ethiopian Yigrem Demelash in personal best 59:19 as Kenya’s Augustine Choge, who was competing in his third half marathon, returned third also in personal best 59:26.