Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw world record time of 1:03:43 will not be ratified as a world record by World Athletics according to NN Running Team, as the course was 54 metres short. Yehaulaw took 18 seconds off the previous world record of 1:04:02 set by Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich. Yehualaw was the first woman to run under 64 minutes over the half-marathon distance.
Yalemzerf Yehualaw’s World Record of Antrim Coast Half Marathon won't be ratified by World Athletics due to technicalities surrounding the course (54m short). pic.twitter.com/wWNEaxpdT6
— NN Running Team (@NNRunningTeam) October 22, 2021
Yehualaw ran this time on her way to win at the Antrim Coast Half Marathon in August. She dominated the race, beating the second-place finisher, Jane Nyaboke of Kenya, by six minutes. This race was her third attempt at the half marathon world record, and she will have a fourth this weekend at the Valencia Half Marathon.
She found out her record wasn’t ratified moments before today’s pre-race elite press conference. “I always focus on what I can influence and accept what comes my way,” said Yehualaw when asked about the World Athletics decision, according to NN Running Team.
The Valencia half marathon will be one for the ages, as the Tokyo 10,000m bronze medallist and world record holder Letesenbet Gidey will make her half-marathon debut. Gidey has had success on the roads, holding the world record for 15 km (44:20). She also has two other world records to her name: 10,000m (29:01) and 5,000m (14:06). Gidey and Yehualaw will be the favourites to chase the world record on Sunday.
On the men’s side, Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto is returning after running the second-fastest half marathon ever in 2020 (57:49). He also holds the 10K road world record at 26:24. Also in the race is Ethiopian Muktar Edris, a double world champion in the 5,000m who ran a 59:04 in his half-marathon debut. Kipruto expects a fast race and has the intention of running under 58 minutes. The current world record is held by Kibiwott Kandie, who ran 57:32 on this same course last year.
The men’s half-marathon world record has been broken twice in Valencia over the past two years. The depth of the women’s and men’s fields are certain to threaten the record books on Sunday.