What you need to know:
- Champion overcomes coronavirus troubles to clinch title
- On Saturday, Jepchirchir recaptured the crown she won last in 2016 in Cardiff.
Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir will enjoy only a week’s rest after Saturday’s record-breaking victory in the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland.
Because she has the Valencia Marathon on December 6 in her cross-hairs.
"My season is not yet complete. I still have Valencia Marathon in December so I’ll prepare for that. I think this win gave me a lot. I'd like to run 2:17 or 2:18 for the marathon,” she said after winning yesterday’s World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in a world record time of one hour, five minutes and 16 seconds.
"This pandemic was difficult and it affected a lot of people. I used this time to train, I didn’t stop my training because I was trying to reach my shape.
"I am so happy with this. It’s a gift to all the Kenyans, to my family. I am going to rest now for one week to recover then I’ll continue training for Valencia," she told World Athletics.
Jepchirchir’s world records and the meteoric rise of Kibiwott Kandie have been the talk on the road racing circuit in this coronavirus-ravaged season.
On Saturday, Jepchirchir recaptured the crown she won last in 2016 in Cardiff.
It was a cat-and-mouse game in the last two kilometres between Jepchirchir, Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Melat Kejeta from Germany before the Kenyan out-sprinted them to triumph.
The 27-year-old Kenyan, who failed to defend her title in 2018 after taking a maternity break, improved her own women’s only half marathon world record by 18 seconds.
Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei finished sixth in 1:05:58 while compatriots Brillian Jepkorir (1:06:56), Rosemary Wanjiru (1:07:10) and Dorcas Kimeli (1:07:55) came in ninth, 10th and 11th. That saw Kenya finish second in the team event followed by Germany.
“My goal was to win but it’s unbelievable since I didn’t expect that I would beat the world record. It was a little bit windy, but the course was good for me," said Jepchirchir.
Kandie might have lost the battle to Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo, but his second place finish on his debut for Kenya could as well as signalled his entry to the elite club.
“It’s not that I lost my power in the last kilometres, but it’s my calculations that went wrong,” Kandie reflected.
“It was a good race and I enjoyed the course. It was my first time at the World Half Marathon Championships and I won!” said Kiplimo.
“It is hard to explain, because I am full of emotion.”