Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh set a new world record at today’s RAK Half-Marathon in the United Arab Emirates and Brigid Kosgei of Kenya finished in second place. These results were flipped from ones at the Chicago Marathon in 2019, where Kosgei set the marathon world record and Yeshaneh crossed the line in second.
ababel birhane set the new half marathon world record 64.31!!
Kosgei in 2nd place 64.48 under the previous world record 🔥🔥🔥
— Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon (@rakhalfmarathon) February 21, 2020
Kosgei beat the previous world record today, but the only issue was that Yeshaneh did, too. Yeshaneh ran a 1:04:31, surpassing Joyciline Jepkosgei‘s 2017 record of 1:04:51 by 20 seconds, and Kosgei eked out a now second-best all-time result of 1:04:49.
Kosgei was a favourite for the win in the UAE, and it seemed very possible that she would break the world record in the process. She had run faster than Jepkosgei’s record before, clocking a 1:04:28 at the Great North Run in Newcastle, but it didn’t count as a record because it was on a point-to-point course.
Yeshaneh’s previous PB was over a minute off her new world record, and after the race she said it was a result that she couldn’t imagine.
The lead women were paced by Geoffrey Pyego, who paced Kosgei to her marathon record in Chicago. Pyego was supposed to take the women out at 1:04:25 pace, but through 5K the group was on pace for a 1:03:32. This pace proved to be too much for most of the women, and the lead pack dwindled to two, just Kosgei and Yeshaneh. The two women battled until Yeshaneh made the race-winning move after 15K, dropping Kosgei and running the final 5K solo to take the win.
Yeshaneh and Kosgei both wore Nike Vaporflys for their record-breaking performances, adding another world record to the controversial shoe’s resume.
On the men’s side, Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya won in a time of 58:58, almost a full minute off of the world record of 58:01.
Full results can be found here.