Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei crosses the finish line at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race in Prague. PHOTO/IAAF
By SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei broke three world records* at the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon when winning the IAAF Gold Label Road Race in 1:04:52 on Saturday (1).
The 23-year-old, competing in just her fifth half marathon to date, also smashed the world records* for 10km and 15km en route to her victory.
Having covered the opening five kilometres in 14:53, Jepkosgei had defending champion Violah Jepchumba for company in the first half of the race as they passed through 10km in 30:05 and 30:06 respectively, both well inside the previous world record of 30:21 set by Paula Radcliffe in 2003.
Jepchumba couldn’t quite keep up with Jepkosgei’s relentless pace, though, and the gap between the pair grew to three seconds at 15km. Once again their respective splits of 45:37 and 45:40 surpassed the world record of 46:14 set by Florence Kiplagat in 2015.
Jepkosgei continued to pull away from her compatriot over the course of the final few kilometres and she went on to cross the finish line in 1:04:52, taking 14 seconds off the world record set earlier this year by Peres Jepchirchir.
“I didn’t know I would break the world record today,” said Jepkosgei, whose previous best was 1:06:08 from this year’s Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon. “I only wanted to improve my time. This is a surprise for me. The conditions were good for me because I’m used to training at this time of day, in the morning.”
Jepchumba finished second in 1:05:22, 29 seconds quicker than her winning time from last year.
Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia won the men’s race in 59:37.
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