Kenya’s former world record-holder runs 65:34 to break the women-only race mark at the elite-only Prague 21.1km – Ready for the Restart event

Peres Jepchirchir smashed the women-only half-marathon world record in Prague on Saturday morning, storming to a time of 65:34 at the elite-only ‘Prague 21.1km – Ready for the Restart’ event.

The race, which was organised by RunCzech in just four weeks, saw athletes complete 16.5 laps of a 1.3km loop course in Prague’s Letna Park, with Jepchirchir’s fellow Kenyan Kibiwott Kandie winning the men’s race in 58:38 for a time which puts him fifth on the world all-time list.

The women’s race set off at 06:20 local time and saw pacemakers Brenda Jepleting and Lilian Jepkorir Chebii lead through the 5km mark in around 15:20 before Jepchirchir surged ahead.

She was running solo 20 minutes into the race and reached 10km in 30:32.

Jepchirchir continued to dominate and won ahead of Jepleting (67:07) and Dorcas Kimeli (67:14).

Her winning time improves on the previous women-only half-marathon record of 66:11 set by Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta at the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships.

“I am just happy and proud,” said Jepchirchir, who previously broke the overall women’s world half-marathon record with her 65:06 time clocked in a mixed gender race in Ras Al Khaimah in 2017. She also won the world half-marathon title in 2016.

“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.”

The men’s race began at 08:00 local time in warmer conditions and it was at around the 10km mark that Kandie broke away, going on to win clear ahead of Philemon Kiplimo (59:56) and Benson Kipruto (60:06).

Kandie’s previous best of 58:58 had been set when winning the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in February and he also won the Kenyan cross-country championships just before that.

Both winners were wearing the new adidas adizero adios Pro footwear and Kandie said: “I am just happy. The lap was great, the new adidas adizero Pro shoes really helped me a lot to perform.”

Jepchirchir agreed and said they helped her to achieve the world record. “I was exhausted for the last five kilometres,” she said, “but the new shoes have helped me set a record.”

Reflecting on the event, president of the RunCzech organising committee, Carlo Capalbo, said: “I don’t even know what to say. 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.”

Full footage of the races can be viewed below.

Results can be found here.

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