Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich Smashes World Half Marathon Record

World marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich sliced 29 seconds off the world half marathon record to set a new time on Sunday, April 4th, 2021.

Chepngetich ย set the world record as she won the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon, a World Athletics Elite Label road race, clocking an impressive 1:04:02 in the Turkish city.

The 26-year-old Kenyan, a winner of this race in 2017 and 2019, broke away from Ethiopiaโ€™s Yalemzerf Yehualaw in the final stages to win by 38 seconds.

Two-time world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri was third in 1:04:51 โ€“ the fastest debut half marathon in history. Itโ€™s the first time three women have finished inside 65 minutes in one half marathon.

Chepngetich, Yehualaw and Obiri were part of an eight-woman pack in the early stages, passing through five kilometres in 15:07.

That group, which also included marathon world record-holder Brigid Kosgei and fellow Kenyan Joan Chelimo Melly, had been whittled down to five by the 10km marker, which was reached in 30:21.

Kosgei then started to fade, as did Melly, leaving Chepngetich, Yehualaw and Obiri out in front, passing through 15km in 45:29. Yehualaw attempted a brief stint at the front, but with 55 minutes on the clock, Chepngetich started her long drive for home.

She covered the fourth 5km segment in 15:13, giving her a 22-second lead over Yehualaw at 20km, and maintained her pace to the end, winning in 1:04:02. Yehualaw, the world half marathon bronze medallist, finished second in 1:04:40, taking six seconds off her PB, while Obiri was third in 1:04:51.

“I am really happy with this amazing result,” said Chepngetich. “The world record is something I have been dreaming about for some time and I am so happy to do it on the streets of Istanbul.”

It was Chepngetich’s third victory in Istanbul and her third improvement on the course record. Her 2017 triumph in 1:06:19 was one of her first big breakthrough runs, then she returned two years later to win in 1:05:30.

Meanwile, World half marathon record-holder Kibiwott Kandie won the menโ€™s race in a course record of 59:35.

The world half marathon silver medallist reeled in early leader Benard Ngeno with about 12 minutes remaining before going on to open up a gap of his own.

Three-time world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor made up a bit of ground with about half a kilometre to go, but Kandie dug in and maintained his lead to the end to win by three seconds. Roncer Kipkorir was third in 59:46.

*Subject to the usual ratification procedure


1 Ruth Chepngetich (KEN) 1:04:02
2 Yalemzerf Yehualaw (ETH) 1:04:40
3 Hellen Obiri (KEN) 1:04:51
4 Joan Chelimo Melly (KEN) 1:05:09
5 Brigid Kosgei (KEN) 1:06:01
6 Hiwot Gebrekidan (ETH) 1:06:47
7 Bekelech Gudeta (ETH) 1:06:54
8 Alia Saeed Mohammed (UAE) 1:07:31
9 Melat Kejeta (GER) 1:07:33
10 Yasemin Can (TUR) 1:08:32

1 Kibiwott Kandie (KEN) 59:35
2 Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN) 59:38
3 Roncer Kipkorir (KEN) 59:46
4 Amdework Walelegn (ETH) 59:48
5 Leonard Barsoton (KEN) 59:59
6 Stephen Kissa (UGA) 1:00:02
7 Benard Ngeno (KEN) 1:00:28
8 Vestus Chemjor (KEN) 1:02:07
9 Getaye Fisseha Gelaw (ETH) 1:03:32
10 Aras Kaya (TUR) 1:03:36