Ruth Chepngetich, victor and CR, 2019 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, photo by Giancarlo Columbo
Ruth Chepngetich set a remarkable world record this morning. Justin Lagat wrote this piece, reminding us just how amazing Ruth’s race was in Istanbul.
Despite the morning weather appearing to be a bit gloomy and wet in Istanbul, the elite field at the N Kolay Istanbul half marathon turned the day into a beautiful one to remember.
The women’s half marathon race, in particular, was epic and historic in many aspects.
Ruth Chepngetich set a new world record of 1:04:02. Hellen Obiri ran the fastest half marathon debut ever with a time of 1:04:51. Three women ran under 65 minutes in a single race, which has never happened before!
From a consistently fast pace from the beginning, only three women remained in the leading pack at around the 15km point. It was Chepngetich, Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Obiri. But, while Yehualaw and Chepngetich exchanged the lead and occasionally ran shoulder to shoulder, Obiri who had been hanging on behind them soon lagged behind.
A long surge by Chepngetich finally enabled her to get rid of Yehualaw, but she never looked back again as her focus quickly shifted from simply winning the race into chasing the world record. She rapidly continued to build the gap winning the race 38 seconds ahead of Yehualaw. Obiri came in third.
With the likes of Obiri who hopes to run in the 5000m and 10,000m at the Tokyo Olympic Games moving to the half marathon distance while still performing well on track, the range for long-distance runners seems to be stretching with time.
The men’s race developed into the expected climax of Geoffrey Kamworor versus Kibiwott Kandie.Except for Bernard Ngeno who had made an early attempt to break away earlier in the race, most of the contenders, perhaps for fear of acting as a pacesetter for others remained patient in the leading pack.
It was Kandie who began the long surge with less than three kilometers to go as Kamworor followed. Towards the end, it appeared as though Kamworor was beginning to close the gap, but Kandie had already build a safe distance to comfortably with the race in a new course record of 59:35 with Kamworor finishing 3 seconds later. Roncer KIpkorir took third in 59:46.