Little known Peres Jepchirchir, set a new world half marathon record at clocking 1:05:06 at the RAK Half Marathon in Ras al-Khaimah, UAE. In the process, she knocked 3 seconds of the previous record held by compatriot Florence Kiplagat.
The impressive Jepchirchir beat a strong field that included current Olympic champion Jemima Sumgong, three time New York marathon winner Mary Keitany and Ethiopian legend and multiple world and Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba. Also impressive is the fact that Jepchirchir suffered from Pneumonia during November and December of 2016.
Her 5 kilometre splits were impressive at She ran 15:37, 15:27, 15:24 and 15:17. She covered the second 10K in 30:33 which is a good 20 seconds faster than her previous 10K best.
Jepchirchir took the lead at the 15km mark and never relinquished it despite a late surge by Mary Keitany who finished second and smashed her own best, and nearly the old world record, with a time of 1:05:13 In third place Joyciline Jepkosgei crossed the finish line in 1:06:08, a personal best by almost three minutes. Keitany and Jepkosgei recorded the fastest ever times for second and third place. Sumgong was finished in a persona best of 1:06:43. Track legend Dibaba from whom much was expected was a distant fifth in 1:06:50.
Jepchirchir, though relatively unknown to casual fans, is well known in athletics circles having won the world half marathon championships in 2016.
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
6 Helah Kiprop (KEN) 1:07:48
7 Rose Chelimo (KEN) 1:08:37
8 Veronicah Nyaruai (KEN) 1:09:33
9 Anne-Mari Hyrylainen (FIN) 1:12:39
10 Etagegn Woldu (ETH) 1:14:46
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