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Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh has set a new women’s half marathon world record, crossing the line in one hour, four minutes and 31 seconds to win the Ras Al Khaimah event in the United Arab Emirates.
Yeshaneh beat the previous record, of 1:04:51 set by Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei in 2017 by 20 seconds.
Brigid Kosgei, who holds the women’s marathon record of 2:14:04, finished in second-place in a time of 1:04:49, also breaking Jepkosgei’s record by two seconds.
In setting the record, Yeshaneh averaged 4:55-minute per mile pace during the half marathon in the United Arab Emirates. She also won a hefty prize purse of more than $100,000 for winning the women’s race and breaking the course and world records.
“I didn’t imagine this result,” Yeshaneh told World Athletics, “I am a world record holder!”. Her previous best over the distance was more than a minute slower, but for the first 5K, Yeshaneh followed the pacemaker, who brought the runners through the split in 15:07.
Only Kosgei and Yeshaneh were able to maintain the pace of 30:18 at the 10K mark, which is 17 seconds faster than Yeshaneh’s 10,000-meter personal best on the track and only one second slower than the world-leading time of 30:17.
News publications have been quick to point out both Yeshaneh and Kosgei were racing in the Nike Vaporfly Next% running shoes, which avoided the World Athletics ban earlier this month.
It looks to be a good start to the year for Yeshaneh, who finished in second place behind Kosgei at the Chicago Marathon last October.
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