Kenya's Jepchirchir sets world half marathon record

Peres Jepchirchir (centre) celebrates with her Kenyan teammates at a past race. Jepchirchir on February 10, 2017 set the world half marathon record after winning the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon in a time of 1 hour, 05 minutes and 06 seconds. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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.

Eight athletes

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 was 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.

Personal best

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.

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