Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia has broken the women’s 15K world record with her 44:19 finish at the NN Zevenheuvelenloop in Nijmegen, Netherlands today. The record was held previously by the newly-crowned TCS New York City Marathon champion and half-marathon world record-holder Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya at 45:37, from the 2017 Prague Half-Marathon (where she also set the half-marathon world record). Gidey took more than a minute off Jepkosgei’s record.
15km WORLD RECORD!!
— Global Sports Comm (@GlobalSportsCom) November 17, 2019
Despite its name (which means “Seven Hills Run”) the popular race, which has been running for 36 years and attracts tens of thousands of participants, is known for its speed: the men’s world 15K record of 41:05 was set here by Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda in his fourth win, in 2018. (Cheptegei won both the World Cross-Country Championships in Denmark in March, as well as the 10,000m at the World Championships in Doha.)
The course is also known for being exceptionally beautiful, as it runs through the Dutch countryside near the German border (and yes, there are hills).
The record comes with a substantial prize of €50,000.
(World Athletics, formerly the IAAF, does not formerly recognize world records at the 15K distance, but does acknowledge Gidey’s time as a world best.)
WERELDRECORD 15KM VROUWEN: 44:20 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/IYKfglB6mi
— NN Zevenheuvelenloop (@7Hloop) November 17, 2019
Gidey split 10K in 29:44, and according to World Athletics, ran the final 10K in a jaw-dropping 29:12, the fastest time ever recorded by a woman over 10K. Her average pace through 15K was 2:57 per kilometre.
Just 21 years old, Gidey won the silver medal in the women’s 10,000m at the recent World Championships in Doha. She finished third at the World Cross Country Championships behind Hellen Obiri of Kenya and Dera Dida of Ethiopia. Gidey has been a contender since bursting onto the scene in 2015, winning the world U20 cross-country title that year and again in 2017.
Eveline Chirchir of Kenya finished second in the race today, in 46:30, and Eva Cherono, also of Kenya, was third, in 48:12.
The men’s race was won by Stephen Kissa of Uganda in 41:47. Edwin Kiptoo of Kenya took second place, in 41:49, and Moses Koech of Kenya was third, in 42:04.