RAK Half Serves up A Feast, as Peres Jepchirchir Breaks World Record
UAE: The world record for the women’s half marathon was broken this morning at the 11th edition of the RAK Half, as Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, last year’s IAAF World Champion for the distance, breasted the finish tape in 65:06, taking 3 seconds off the time of compatriot Florence Kiplagat, set in Barcelona just under two years ago.
On the way to this unexpected mark – she suffered from pneumonia for two months at the end of 2016 – the 23 year old who had placed 4th here twelve months ago, broke the world record for 20km in a mixed race, with 61:40, itself lopping a cool 14 seconds off Kiplagat’s previous time, also set in Barcelona.
Behind her, three-time RAK champion Mary Keitany smashed her own best, and very nearly the old world record, with a 65:13 clocking, while Joyciline Jepkosgei ensured a Kenyan clean sweep, crossing the newly positioned finish line in 66:08, a personal best by almost three minutes.
In the men’s contest, IAAF World Half Marathon Championship silver medallist Bedan Karoki, so often the bridesmaid on road, track and country – he was second at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in 2015 – surged to victory over the last three kilometres, in a time of 59:10. Karoki richly deserved the win and the four second personal best, having contributed enormously to the fast tempo being maintained in the second half of the race, once the pacemakers had stepped aside.
In second, last year’s fastest 10,000m runner Yigrem Demelash of Ethiopia, clocked 59:19, a lifetime best by 29 seconds, while the remarkable Augustine Choge, in only his third ever half marathon outing, also broached new ground with 59:26.
Tim Hutchings for the Organisers