Joyciline Jepkosgei became the first woman to break 65 minutes for 21.1 kilometres, running 3:05 per kilometre pace.
It was a bold run from the gun on April 1st for Joyciline Jepkosgei, a little-known 23-year-old Kenyan who set a new world record, pending ratification, in the half-marathon, finishing in 1:04:56. On the way to that history-making mark, she also unofficially set the world records for the 10K, 15K, and 20K distances.
Jepkosgei began running professionally only about a year ago. Her previous half-marathon personal best, according to the International Association of Athletics Federations, came in May 2016, when she ran 1:09:07.
After breaking the tape at the Prague Half Marathon on Saturday, she told reporters she felt comfortable at her pace during the race, which averaged 3:05 per kilometre. She was surprised, she said, that she had such a standout performance.
“I didn’t know even at the finish line,” she said. “Even now I am surprised about it.”
During the race, Jepkosgei also shattered three other marks, which are up for ratification by the IAAF. She went through 10K in 30:04, breaking the previous record of 30:21 held for 14 years by Paula Radcliffe, which the marathon world-record holder set at the World’s Best 10K in Puerto Rico. Then Jepkosgei hit 15K in 45:37. (The previous mark of 46:15 was held by Florence Kiplagat since 2015.) Jepkosgei passed 20K in 1:01:25, bettering the 1:01:40 record set by Peres Jepchirchir in February, when she set the previous world half marathon record of 1:05:06 at a race in the United Arab Emirates.
Pending ratification of the results, Jepkosgei will earn US$75,711 (A$99,983; NZ$10,8530) for the win, world record and the course record. Violah Jepchumba of Kenya was second in 1:05:22, and Fancy Chemutai was third in 1:06:58.
American Jordan Hasay also competed in the half-marathon in Prague, finishing sixth in 1:07:55, a personal record at the distance on her way to racing her debut at the Boston Marathon this month. Her time moves her to third on the list of women’s all-time fastest U.S. half marathon times, behind Deena Kastor and Molly Huddle.
“I felt controlled and comfortable,” Hasay said in a written statement to Race Results Weekly. “My plan was to run smooth until 16 or 17 kilometres. I found a nice rhythm and ran pretty evenly. Then the last three kilometres I was able to close well. I’m pleased with my effort and excited about my fitness going into Boston.”
Galen Rupp, who is also competing in Boston following his bronze medal performance in the marathon at the Rio Games, didn’t fare as well as Hasay, his Oregon Project teammate. He finished 11th in Prague in 1:01:59. He told Race Results Weekly that he experienced some pain in his foot. He withdrew from the Houston Half Marathon in January with plantar fasciitis.
“Hopefully my foot will be okay for Boston,” he said in a written statement.