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Kenya’s Jepkosgei obliterates women’s half-marathon record

Joyceline Jepkosgei wins the Karlovy Vary Half Marathon (Giancarlo Colombo / organisers) © Copyright

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Apr 1 – Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei broke the world record for the women’s half marathon on Saturday in Prague, becoming the first female to beat the 1hr 5min mark.

The 23-year-old’s scorching time of 1hr 4min 52sec smashed the previous record set by compatriot Peres Jepchirchir in Dubai in February by 14 seconds.

Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei broke four world records* at the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon when winning the IAAF Gold Label Road Race in 1:04:52 on Saturday

The 23-year-old, competing in just her fifth half marathon to date, also smashed the world records* for 10km, 15km and 20km en route to her victory.

Having covered the opening five kilometres in 14:53, Jepkosgei had defending champion Violah Jepchumba for company in the first half of the race as they passed through 10km in 30:05 and 30:06 respectively, both well inside the previous 10km world record of 30:21 set by Paula Radcliffe in 2003.

Jepchumba couldn’t quite keep up with Jepkosgei’s relentless pace, though, and the gap between the pair grew to three seconds at 15km. Once again their respective splits of 45:37 and 45:40 surpassed the world record of 46:14 set by Florence Kiplagat in 2015.

Jepkosgei continued to pull away from her compatriot over the course of the final few kilometres. After passing through 20km in yet another world record, 1:01:25, she went on to cross the finish line in 1:04:52, taking 14 seconds off the world record set earlier this year by Peres Jepchirchir.

“I didn’t know I would break the world record today,” said Jepkosgei, whose previous best was 1:06:08 from this year’s Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon. “I only wanted to improve my time. This is a surprise for me. The conditions were good for me because I’m used to training at this time of day, in the morning.”

Jepchumba finished second in 1:05:22, 29 seconds quicker than her winning time from last year.

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Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia won the men’s race in 59:37.

The various time and record bonuses for Jepkosgei pushed her winnings over Sh 10.9 million (100,000 Euros). Violah Jepchumba finished second in 65:22, PRing by 29 seconds but moving back a spot to No. 5 on the world all-time list.

“I didn’t know I would break the world record today,” said Jepkosgei, who had a previous half-marathon best of 66:08 from this year’s Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon.

“I only wanted to improve my time. This was a surprise for me. I am very happy!”

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