Peres Jepchirchir wins World Half Marathon Championships title

Peres Jepchirchir can’t stop winning and breaking records.

The Kenyan on Saturday won the World Half Marathon Championships title in yet another women’s only world record of 1:05:16 in Gdynia, Poland.

It was a cat-and-mouse game in the last two kilometres between Jepchirchir, Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Melat Yisak Kejeta from Germany before the Kenyan outsprinted them to recapture the title she won last in Cardiff 2016.

It’s only six weeks ago that Jepchirchir set a new women’s only half marathon world record when she won the Prague Half Marathon in 1:05:34 on September 5 in the Czech capital.

Surprise pack Kejeta dug in to settle second in a national record time of 1:05:18 as Yehualaw, who appeared to tumble on home straight, came in third in personal best 1:05:19.

Zeineba Yimer and women’s mixed half marathon world record holder Ababel Yeshaneh finished fourth and fifth in 1:05:39 and 1:05:41 to enable Ethiopia retain the team title.

Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei finished sixth in 1:05:58 while compatriots Brillian Jepkorir (1:06:56), Rosemary Wanjiru (1:07:10) and Dorcas Kimeli (1:07:55) came in ninth, 10th and 11th.

Jepkosgei led the pack through five kilometres in a fast-paced race in 15:20, pulling along Jepchirchir, Wanjiru, Can and defending champion Netsanet Gudeta.

Things started to take shape 30 minutes into the race but Gudeta would fall down as Jepchirchir and Jepkosgei battled Yimer, Yeshaneh and Tehualaw.

It’s Yasemin Can from Turkey who took the pack through 10km in 30:47 with Jepkosgei, Jepchirchir and the Ethiopian trio on tow.

It was now clear the world could see a new champion crowned as Gudeta continued to fall back midway the race after she went down at a sharp corner.

Jepkosgei and Jepchirchir led the pack of seven through 15km in 46:24 seconds. Also in the pack were Can, Yeshaneh, Yimer and Yehualaw.

Then Yeshaneh hit the front for the first time but she would tumble and fall alongside Jepksogei at the 18km mark and the two never recovered to leave the race to a three-horse tussle.

Jepchirchir led Kejeta and Yehualaw through the 20km mark in 1:02:04 with the Kenyan emerging supreme in the cat-and-mouse battle in the last kilometre.

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