CARDIFF, United Kingdom, Oct 2 – Kenya’s Violah Jepchumba kept her stellar 2016 momentum alive with a dominating victory at the Cardiff Half Marathon on Sunday.
Running alone almost from the gun, the 25-year-old Kenyan clocked 1:08:14 for her fifth victory in as many road races this year, finishing well under the previous course record of 1:01:10 set by Susan Partridge in 2012.
Expectations were high for Jepchumba, who threatened Florence Kiplagat’s 1:05:09 world record with a blistering 1:05:51 run in Prague in April, and who, in her most recent outing, came within three seconds of Paula Radcliffe’s 10km world record with a 30:24 run, also in Prague, 22 days ago.
In Cardiff, Jepchumba forged an assault on Kiplagat’s mark early on, passing through five kilometres in 15:30. But with no company, she wasn’t able to maintain the brisk tempo, slowing to 31:30 at 10 kilometres and further to 48:02 after 15.
Crossing the 20-kilometre marker in 1:04:50, she cruised on to her fourth half marathon victory of 2016, beating Flomena Cheyech Daniel, the Commonwealth marathon champion, by nearly two minutes.
Cheyech clocked 1:10:05 with Lenah Jerotich, the 2015 Cardiff winner, completing the Kenyan podium sweep in third, running 1:11:23.
There was a Kenyan podium sweep and course record in the men’s race too.
Shadrack Korir made his break with about two kilometres remaining to win in 1:00:54, a near two-minute improvement on his previous best of 1:02:40 and well under the 1:01:51 course record set by Loitarakwai Lengurisi in 2013.
Cyprian Kotut, this year’s Paris Marathon winner, was second in 1:01:04, with 20-year-old Charles Muneria, a Kenyan Olympian at 5000m this year, third in 1:01:36 in his debut over the distance.
Nearly 22,000 runners took part in the race that looped through the Welsh capital.