Ruth Chepngetich Just Broke the Half-Marathon World Record by a Full 29 Seconds

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Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich ran her way into the history books at the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon on Sunday, breaking the women’s half marathon world record with a blazing-fast time of 1:04:01. We did the calculations, and that comes out to an average pace of 4:53 per mile (!) over 13.1 miles. Chepngetich sprinted right past the previous time of 1:04:31 set by Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh at the 2020 RAK Half Marathon, claiming the record by a solid 29 seconds. (Chepngetich’s record is still being ratified by officials.)

And based on Chepngetich’s reaction at the finish line, she knew she’d crushed it. The 26-year-old runner leapt through the tape and raised her arms in triumph before collapsing, and she couldn’t wipe the grin off her face as the hugs and celebrations began. “I am really happy with this amazing result,” she said afterwards, according to World Athletics. “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.”

Remarkably, Chepngetich’s record wasn’t the only impressive accomplishment that came out of the race. With Chepngetich, runner-up Yalemzerf Yehualaw from Ethiopia, and third-place finisher Hellen Obiri of Kenya, the race marked the first time in history that three women have ran a half marathon in under 65 minutes. And Obiri did it in her first ever half marathon, which is yet another record: the fastest half marathon debut. Got all that?

To sum it up: women runners set three records in Istanbul this weekend, with Chepngetich leading the way with a brand new half marathon record. Who will be the next to break it? With the blistering pace of women’s running lately, we may not have to wait long to find out.


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