On a sunny Saturday morning, Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya won the World Half-Marathon Championships in a new women’s-only world record of 1:05:16, shattering her old record of 1:05:34, which she set earlier this year in Prague. Jepchirchir was closely followed by second and third place, which went to Melat Yisak Kejeta in 1:05:18, a German national record, and Yalemzerf Yehualaw of Ethiopia, who took third in 1:05:19. All three women were under the old world record.
Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir wins in a women-only world record of 1:05:16!
— World Athletics (@WorldAthletics) October 17, 2020
Note: there are two different women’s world records due to the debate about whether racing alongside men provides an advantage. On the track, women are not allowed to have male pacers.
But it wasn’t just the top three who ran quickly – the results page is littered with personal bests. Almost every runner in the top 30 ran a PB, boding well for fast times in the upcoming men’s race.
The women's race at the World Half was a story of falls.
Defending champ Netsanet Gudeta went down just before 10k, then top contenders Ababel Yeshaneh and Joyciline Jepkosgei while leading the race on the final lap.
Even Yalemzerf Yehualaw lost her balance on final straight. pic.twitter.com/yrx3EKvT4f
— Jonathan Gault (@jgault13) October 17, 2020
Two big falls
The big question of the day is what happened to Joyciline Jepkosgei, one of the fastest women ever over the distance and a favourite to win. On the final lap, Jepkosgei tangled shoes with her group of runners and took a fall she couldn’t recover from. She went on to finish sixth in 1:05:58. Defending champion and former women-only world record holder Netsanet Gudeta also fell just before 10K and finished eighth in 1:06:46.
The men’s race is currently underway. The women proved that this course is fast, so watch for Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei to do some damage (and maybe even run a world record).