Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya smashed the women's half marathon world record on Sunday in Istanbul, Turkey, clocking a time of 1:04:02. She shaved 29 seconds off the previous record held by Ethiopia's Ababel Yeshaneh.
The 26-year-old won gold in the women's marathon at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, in 2019 by finishing the race in 2:32:43. This time, she beat women's marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei, two-time women's 5,000-meter world champion Hellen Obiri and top-three women's half marathon runner Yalemzerf Yehualaw.
In the contest on Sunday, the leading group finished the first 5 and 10 kilometers at 15:07 and 30:21 respectively, a speed that was on pace to break the world record of 1:03:33.
Chepngetich, Obiri and Yehualaw reached 15 kilometers almost at the same time (45:30). Chepngetich began to accelerate in the following 2 kilometers, which she finished in 1:00:43. She already led by 22 seconds over second-placed Yehualaw.
In the end, Yehualaw finished the race after Chepngetich in 1:04:40, setting a new personal best (PB). Obiri, competing in her first half marathon, finished third (1:04:51), while Kosgei finished fifth (1:06:01).
Chepngetich only began competing in international events in 2016 when she was 22 years old, but Istanbul has always brought her good luck. She made her marathon debut in the city and won the title in 2:22:36 in 2017. That same year, she also ran her PB in the half marathon in Istanbul with a time of 1:06:19. One year later, Chepngetich raised her marathon PB to 2:18:35 in Istanbul, and then in 2019 reached 1:05:30 for a new half marathon PB there, too.