By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Feb 10, 2017
Peres Jepchirchir broke the world record in the women's half marathon on Friday, clocking 1:05:06 at the RAK Half Marathon in Ras al-Khaimah, UAE.
The 23-year-old Kenyan, who won the world title over the distance in 2016, knocked three seconds from the previous record set by her compatriot Florence Kiplagat in Barcelona two years ago.
Jepchirchir was part of a seven-woman group during the early stages, passing the five-kilometre mark in 15:40.
By 10km, reached in 31:07, Jepchirchir and three-time RAK champion Mary Keitany had opened up a gap of 10 seconds on their pursuers as Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong, multiple world and Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba and world marathon silver medallist Helah Kiprop ran as a trio.
Keitany led for a brief moment and was two seconds clear of Jepchirchir as they went through the 15-kilometre checkpoint in 46:30.
They were still slightly behind world record schedule, but Jepchirchir had enough in the tank to push the pace for the final quarter of the race.
Jepchirchir, who suffered from pneumonia for two months at the end of 2016, forged ahead and covered the five-kilometre segment between 15km and 20km in 15:09, the fastest split of the race.
It meant that she reached 20km in a world record* of 1:01:40, putting her on pace to take down the world record for the 13.1-mile distance.
“I was not thinking that I can run world record but it’s God’s plan,” Jepchirchir said. “I’m so happy. I’m not even believing myself that I ran a world record.”
Behind her, Keitany smashed her own best, and nearly the old world record, with a 1:05:13 clocking, while Joyciline Jepkosgei ensured a Kenyan sweep, crossing the newly positioned finish line in 1:06:08, a personal best by almost three minutes.
Keitany managed to make up some of the ground in the final kilometre, but Jepchirchir went on to win by a comfortable margin, clocking 1:05:06.
In fourth and fifth, Sumgong and Dibaba recorded PBs of 1:06:43 and 1:06:50 respectively.
Karoki tops men
In the men’s contest, world half marathon and cross-country silver medallist Bedan Karoki, so often the bridesmaid on road, track and cross-country, surged to victory over the last three kilometres in a time of 59:10.
Karoki richly deserved the win and the four-second personal best, having contributed enormously to the fast tempo being maintained in the second half of the race once the pacemakers had stepped aside.
In second, last year’s world 10,000m leader Yigrem Demelash of Ethiopia clocked 59:19, a lifetime best by 29 seconds, while the remarkable Augustine Choge, in only his third ever half marathon outing, also broached new ground with 59:26.
Leading results Men 1 Bedan Karoki (KEN) 59:10 2 Yigrem Demelash (ETH) 59:19 3 Augustine Choge (KEN) 59:26 4 Solomon Yego (KEN) 59:50 5 Nguse Amlosom (ERI) 1:00:04
Women 1 Peres Jepchirchir (KEN) 1:05:06 2 Mary Keitany (KEN) 1:05:13 3 Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN) 1:06:08 4 Jemina Sumgong (KEN) 1:06:43 5 Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) 1:06:50