What you need to know:
- Jepchirchir overcame stiff competition from Ethiopian rivals to set a new record of one hour, five minutes, 16 seconds (1:05:16) in the process lowering her previous record
- The athlete said that she had seen the course before the race and knew that someone would break the record, but she didn’t expect to be the one
- Athlete shifts focus to Valencia Marathon on December 6
Tactful calculations and obeying her gut feeling helped World Half Marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir to set a new women’s only record over the distance in Gdynia, Poland on Saturday.
“When I reached a distance of about 150 metres to the tape, and I knew that if I kicked early my opponents would have beaten me so I delayed. That is the trick I used. When I went for the tape, they tried to react but I dashed to victory,” she said.
Jepchirchir overcame stiff competition from Ethiopian rivals to set a new record of one hour, five minutes, 16 seconds (1:05:16) in the process lowering her previous record.
“I’m happy to have won the race. The Ethiopian athletes looked good, they were running tactfully too from behind. I tried to shake them off, but they were not easy to drop. Except for the wind, the weather was good,” she said.
Jepchirchir spoke on Monday at the Eldoret International Airport after arriving from Poland. Her husband Davies Ng’eno, daughter Natalie Cherono and Pastor Rachael Kimosop were on hand to receive her.
Jepchirchir said she felt sorry for compatriot Joyciline Jepkosgei who tripped and fell during the race. Jepkosgei finished sixth after the unfortunate fall.
“When Joyciline fell, I knew I was now alone against the opposition. I had to be more careful especially at the bends. The remaining competitors were strong. I needed a sprint finish to win,” Jepchirchir said.
The athlete said that she had seen the course before the race and knew that someone would break the record, but she didn’t expect to be the one.
Jepchirchir said anything is possible now and anyone can break her record. “Athletes are strong after the long break from competitive athletics due to the coronavirus pandemic. I ran a world record time, but going forward, anything can happen. It’s still possible to lower that time,” she said.
Jepchirchir’s husband Ng’eno said he was happy with his wife’s performance. He said she worked hard and prepared well for the race and she deserved the victory.
Jepchirchir dedicated her win to her fans. She said: “I want to thank everyone who watched the race aired by the Nation Media Group’s NTV. I’m happy my grandmother Salome Keter watched me competing.”
She also thanked Athletics Kenya and the Ministry of Sports for the support they gave to athletes during the difficult period of the coronavirus pandemic.
Other Kenyans Brilliant Jepkorir (1:06:56), Rosemary Wanjiru (1:07:10) and Dorcas Kimeli (1:07:55) finished ninth, 10th and 11th respectively in Poland.
Jepchirchir is now focusing on Valencia Marathon set for December 6 in Spain.
She will be up against tough Ethiopian opponents Azmera Abreha, Ruti Aga, Birhane Dibaba, Zeineba Yimer, Tigist Girma,:19:52) and Mare Dibaba. Kenya’s Jepkosgei and Joan Chelimo will also be on parade.