World records set earlier this year by Ruth Chepngetich and Francine Niyonsaba have been ratified.
Chepngetich, the world marathon champion, clocked a world record of 1:04:02 when winning at the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon, a World Athletics Elite Label road race, on 4 April.
In a high-quality field, Chepngetich and seven other women passed through the first 5km in 15:07, but the lead pack had whittled down to five women by the 10km marker, reached in 30:21. Chepngetich had just Yalemzerf Yehualaw and two-time world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri for company by the time she reached 15km in 45:29. Roughly 10 minutes later, Chepngetich started her long drive for home.
The Kenyan went on to win by 38 seconds, while Yehualaw and Obiri both finished inside 65 minutes. Chepngetich’s winning time of 1:04:02 broke the previous record of 1:04:31 that had been set by Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh in Ras Al Khaimah on 21 February 2020.
“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.”
Chepngetich’s record was recently broken by Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, who won in Valencia last weekend with 1:02:52 – a mark that is pending ratification.
Niyonsaba capped her 2021 track campaign with a 2000m victory and world record at the Continental Tour Gold meeting in Zagreb on 14 September.
The distance runner from Burundi followed the pacemakers for the first three laps, passing through 400m in 1:04.50 and 800m in 2:09.22. The half-way point was reached in 2:41.37, putting her inside world record pace.
Niyonsaba went through the bell in 4:20.23, meaning she needed a final lap of about 63 seconds to claim the world record. Ethiopia’s Freweyni Hailu tried to move into the lead on the back straight, but Niyonsaba kept her at bay and then kicked for home, eventually crossing the line in 5:21.56.
Her winning time took more than two seconds off the previous record that had been set indoors by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in Sabadell on 7 February 2017.
“I did it. It’s wonderful and it’s fabulous,” said Niyonsaba. “The pacing was really perfect. I want to thank all the people who came to cheer us.”