Violah Jepchumba winning the Cardiff Half Marathon (© Organisers)
Violah Jepchumba kept her stellar 2016 momentum alive with a dominant victory at the Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race, in the Welsh capital on Sunday (2).
Running alone almost from the gun, the 25-year-old Kenyan clocked 1:08:14 for her fifth victory in as many road races this year, finishing well inside the previous race record of 1:01:10 set by Susan Partridge in 2012.
Expectations were high for Jepchumba, who threatened Florence Kiplagat's 1:05:09 world record with a blistering 1:05:51 run in Prague in April, and who, in her most recent outing, came within three seconds of Paula Radcliffe's 10km world record with a 30:24 run, also in Prague, 22 days ago.
In Cardiff, Jepchumba forged an assault on Kiplagat's mark early on, passing through five kilometres in 15:30. But with no company, she wasn't able to maintain the brisk tempo, slowing to 31:30 at 10 kilometres and further to 48:02 after 15.
Crossing the 20-kilometre marker in 1:04:50, she cruised on to her fourth half marathon victory of 2016, beating Flomena Cheyech Daniel, the Commonwealth marathon champion, by nearly two minutes. Cheyech clocked 1:10:05 with Lenah Jerotich, the 2015 Cardiff winner, completing the Kenyan podium sweep in third, running 1:11:23.
There was a Kenyan podium sweep and race record in the men's race too.
Shadrack Korir made his break with about two kilometres remaining to win in 1:00:54, a near two-minute improvement on his previous best of 1:02:40 and well under the 1:01:51 race record set by Loitarakwai Lengurisi in 2013.
Cyprian Kotut, this year's Paris Marathon winner, was second in 1:01:04, with 20-year-old Charles Muneria, a Kenyan Olympian at 5000m this year, third in 1:01:36 on his debut over the distance.
Nearly 22,000 runners took part in the race that looped through the Welsh capital on the same course that was used for this year's IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.
Bob Ramsak and organisers for the IAAF