By Kennedy Langat/Reuters
Peres Jepchirchir set a world record in the women’s half marathon on Friday, the Kenyan clocking a time of one hour, five minutes and six seconds in the United Arab Emirates as runners from the East African nation swept the podium places.
The 23-year-old world champion crossed the line in the Ras al-Khaimah half marathon three seconds quicker than the mark set by fellow Kenyan Florence Kiplagat in Barcelona two years ago, although the new record remains subject to ratification.
Jepchirchir was part of a seven-woman group during the early stages, passing the five-kilometre mark in 15 minutes and 40 seconds.
Jepchirchir and three-time RAK champion Mary Keitany had opened up a gap of ten seconds on their pursuers as Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong, multiple world and Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba and world marathon silver medalist Helah Kiprop ran as a trio.
She managed to hang on before collapsing immediately after the finish line, where she had to be carried away from the finish area.
Jepchirchir who won at the IAAF, World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff last year, took three seconds off the previous record which had been was set by her compatriot Florence Kiplagat in Barcelona in 2015.
Three-time RAK winner Mary Keitany finished second in a time of one hour five minutes and 13 seconds while Joyciline Jepkosgei clocked one hour 06 minutes and 08 second to finished third.
Olympic marathon champion Jemima Sumgong, finished fourth ahead of Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba. Jepchirchir took home 5.1 million for the win, plus 10.3 million for breaking the world record.
In the men’s contest, world half marathon and cross-country silver medalist Bedan Karoki, emerged victorious in a time of 59 minutes and 10 seconds beating Ethiopia’s Yigrem Demelash to the second place. Augustine Choge, and Solomon Yego finished third and fourth respectively.
Kenya also dominated the men’s race, with Bedan Karoki, who won silver at last year’s World Half Marathon Championships and World Cross Country Championships, winning in a time of 59:10.
Ethiopia’s Yigrem Demelash finished nine seconds behind Karoki, while Kenya’s Augustine Choge was a further seven seconds back in third.