What you need to know:
- Peres Jepchirchir breaks world 21km record, Kandie runs personal best time
- It was Jepchirchir's second world record over the distance having clocked 1:05:06 in a mixed race in Ras Al Khaimah in 2017, a record that stood for just under two months.
- Jepchirchir, 26, took things into her own hands midway Saturday’s race held on a circuit in the Letna Park after pacemakers Brenda Jepleting and Lilian Jepkorir struggled and at one point she looked like she could attack Yeshaneh’s 64:31.
Kenya’s 2019 World Championships marathon bronze medallist Amos Kipruto believes that, with a little bit of more tweaking, the new Adidas Adizero Adios Pro racing shoes could crush more records in road running.
German manufacturer Adidas’ latest product off their elite shoe production line caused a sensation in the market yesterday when Peres Jepchirchir set a new world record in the half marathon in Prague, racing in the freshly-launched product.
Jepchirchir, 26, covered the 21-kilometre distance in one hour, five minutes and 34 seconds, beating the previous best in a women’s only race of 1:06:11 set by Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta Kebede in 2018.
Another Ethiopian, Ababel Yeshaneh, holds the world record in a mixed race (meaning she was paced by, and ran alongside, men) at 1:04:31 which she set at February’s Ras Al Khaimah Marathon in the United Arab Emirates.
Also at Ras Al Khaimah, Kenya’s national cross country champion Kibiwott Kandie ran a personal best 58:58. He improved this time in winning the men’s race in Prague on Saturday with a new personal best time of 58:38.
It was the fifth-fastest half marathon time ever behind Kenya’s world record holder Geoffrey Kamworor (58:01), Abraham Kiptum (58:18), Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese (58:23) and the late Samuel Wanjiru (58:33).
Kandie also raced in the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro Saturday.
Kipruto, third in the World Championships marathon in Doha last year, was involved, along with other Kenyan elite runners, in the research and development of the Adidas shoe.
“I’ve tested and used the shoe several times in training, including in speed work and intervals, and it’s a good shoe,” he said from Kapsabet.
“They (Adidas) just need to work on the grip because sometimes when you step on water and get back to a dry surface, it gets a bit slippery, otherwise it’s a great shoe."
He paid tribute to Kandie for his run. “Kandie is a very strong runner. Training alone in this Covid-19 pandemic is not easy because you need a strong group to challenge you. I’m happy for him and for Peres too,” he said.
In Prague, both Jepchirchir and Kandie ran solo second halves after dropping their pace makers earlier on. The athletes ran in a park on an oval, 1.3-kilometre course, completing 16.5 laps, or 21.0975 kilometres.
The flat course and the intense competition were designed to be an all-out assault on current world records and best times.
Dropped the pack
Jepchirchir dropped the pack just 20 minutes in, and felt she could have run a sub-65 time had she enjoyed better pace making.
“I am just happy and proud. Although I thought for a while that I could run at the limit of 65 minutes, I am also really happy with the time and especially the new record,” Jepchirchir said.
“I thank God… I’m so excited… I’m satisfied with the result although I though I could have run 64:50, but I thank God for what He has given me,” the pious Jepchirchir said.
She noted that it was difficult running alone after she dropped the pack and pacemakers.
“If I could have had (good) pacemakers, I could have run 64.” Jepchirchir lives with her husband in Kapsabet, Nandi County where she trains. Her mother passed away when she was only two years old and as a child, she was interested in running.
On a record breaking weekend of athletics, the Prague run – coming just hours after Great Britain’s Mo Farah and Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan broke world record for the rarely-run one-hour track race in Brussels on Friday – saw the women’s race off first at 6.20am, local time, with the men’s blasting off at 8am.
Like Jepchirchir, Kandie was hard pressed to do the job alone from the halfway mark in the men’s race after dropping the pacemakers, and with conditions in the Czech capital getting warmer, both Kamworor’s 58:01 record and the day’s 58:30 target were out of sight.
“I’m satisfied with the time I got today,” The Kenya Defence Forces soldier said.
“It was also the first time for us to use the new shoe. We are happy that Adidas have promoted us with a shoe that is good for running. It will be my pleasure to keep running again in the road races after the pandemic is over.
The Prague races have been put together by RunCzech, an athletes and events management company headed by Carlo Capalbo. Adidas were also sponsors of these races meant to kick-start the running season after the Covid-19 crisis.
Cabalbo, who is the president of RunCzech organizing committee, was beside himself with joy on Saturday.
“I don’t even know what to say,” he said.
“Organising a world-class event in such a short time is unbelievable. I think that we have just created a model for other races around the world. This could be a model of how we can work in a pandemic. The end may be far away, but we will not give up.”
The target for the men was shattering the 58:30 mark, which has been done only three times in history.
And for the women, the world record in women’s only race of 1:06:11 was in the crosshairs, beaten by Jepchirchir.
Prague women’s results (all Kenyans):
1. Peres Jepchirchir 1:05:34
2. Brenda Jepleting 1:07:07
3. Dorcas Jepchumba Kimeli 1:07:14
4. Edith Chelimo 1:07:16
5. Sheila Chepkirui 1:07:37
6. Vibian Chepkirui 1:09:09
Prague leading men’s results (all Kenyans):
1. Kibiwott Kandie 58:37
2. Philemon Kiplimo Kimaiyo 59:56
3. Benson Kipruto 1:00:06
4. Amos Kurgat Kibiwott 1:00:20
5. Felix Kipkoech 1:00:40
6. Timothy Kibet Kosgei 1:00:47
7. Bernard Kimeli 1:01:00
8. Abel Kipchumba 1:01:02
9. Bravin Kipkogei Kiptoo 1:01:23
10. Alfred Chelal Barkach 1:01:32