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Peres Jepchirchir celebrates after breaking the women's only half marathon record in Prague. PHOTO/RunCzech/Twitter

Athletics

Kenya’s Jepchirchir smashes women-only half marathon world record

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, Sep 5 – Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir smashed the women-only race world record at the Prague Half Marathon in the Czech Republic on Saturday morning.

The 26-year-old Kenyan clocked 1:05:34 at the Prague 21.1KM, shattering the previous record of 1:06:11 set by Netsanet Gudeta of Ethiopia at the World Half Marathon Championships in 2018.

Breaking away from the small field just 20 minutes into the race, Jepchirchir set out on a ravaging pace over the 16.5-lap course in Prague’s Letna Park, passing 10 kilometres in 30:32. She slowed over the waning laps but still finished well under the previous mark.

“I was thinking to run maybe 1:04:50, but I’m so happy,” said Jepchirchir, who raced to the world half marathon title in 2016.

This is Jepchirchir’s second world record over the distance. She clocked 1:05:06 in a mixed race in Ras Al Khaimah in 2017, a record which stood for just under two months.

With her pacing duties over early, Jepleting went on to finish second in 1:07:07. Dorcas Kimeli was third in 1:07:14. Kimeli is expected to race next at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020.

-Kandie sizzles 58:38

The men’s race kicked off at 08:00, handing that field much hotter conditions to contend with. Similarly to the women’s race, it was largely solo affair with Kibiwott Kandie breaking away to go it alone after 10 kilometres.

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“It’s difficult to run alone,” he later said, but was rewarded for his efforts with a 58:38 run to become the fifth fastest man over the distance with the sixth fastest performance of all-time.

Kandie ran well early in the year, winning the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in late February with a world-leading 58:58, just six days after his triump at the fiercely competitive Kenyan cross-country championships. But then the Coronavirus pandemic forced a halt to that momentum.

“My wish is to run again when this pandemic is over,” he said. “It will be a pleasure to continue competing.”

In early March Kandie was also named to the Kenyan team for the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships.

Philemon Kiplimo Kimaiyo was second in 59:56 with Benson Kipruto third in 1:00:06.

-By World Athletics

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