Report07 Apr 2019

Weekend half marathon round-up: Chepngetich sizzles 1:05:30 in Istanbul, Hassan goes sub-1:06 in Berlin, Kimeli and Kipkirui win in Prague


Ruth Chepngetich wins the Istanbul Half Marathon (© Organisers)

Last updated: 7 April 23:30 CET

Chepngetich sizzles 1:05:30 at Istanbul Half

Ruth Chepngetich clocked 1:05:30 to smash her own course record at the Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Sunday (7).

Running with Kenyan compatriot Dorcas Jepchirchir Tuitoek through the opening five kilometres in 15:11, Chepngetich broke away soon thereafter, scorching through the 10km checkpoint in 30:33, 17 seconds clear of 21-year-old Jepchirchir, her nearest challenger. Chepngetich slowed over the next five kilometres, reaching 15 kilometres in 46:15, but still padded her lead to 23 seconds. She was nearly a minute ahead by 20 kilometres (1:02:11) and eventually won by 1:03 over Jepchirchir, who crossed the line in 1:06:33 in what was apparently her debut over the distance.

Chepngetich clearly enjoys competing in Turkey's largest city. The 24-year-old set the course record of 1:06:19 in April 2017, then returned seven months later for the Istanbul Marathon, winning in 2:22:36 in her debut over the distance. She returned a year later to make a massive marathon breakthrough, clocking 2:18:35. In January she ran faster still, winning in Dubai in 2:17:08, this year's fastest time. Her performance today elevates her to 11th on the all-time half marathon list, and second on the 2019 list.

Helen Tola, the runner-up at last month's Tokyo Marathon in a solid 2:21:01, clocked 1:06:45 to knock 62 seconds from her previous lifetime best.

The fast early pace was too much for World champion Netsanet Gudeta from the outset. After running together with Tola through 10 kilometres, Gudeta drifted back and eventually finished a distant fourth in 1:08:04.

In the men's race, 22-year-old Benard Ngeno fought back Ethiopian Abayneh Degu's late race challenge to secure his second half marathon victory of the year, clocking 59:56. Ngeno was aggressive from the gun, running at the front of the lead packs that consisted of 14 runners at five kilometres (14:19) and ten at ten kilometres (28:17) before jumping to a nine-second lead after 15 kilometres (42:29).

But Degu, 20, and Kenyan Hillary Kipchumba, fought back over the final five-kilometre stretch to narrow the gap considerably, but were ultimately unable to reel in Ngeno. Degu was second in 59:58, knocking more than a minute from his previous best of 1:01:01, while Kipchumba finished third, another three seconds back in 1:00:01.

Amdework Walelegn, who broke the course record last year with a 59:50 run, dropped off the pace after 10 kilometres and eventually finished 11th in 1:01:56.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF



1 Benard Ngeno (KEN) 59:56
2 Abayneh Degu (ETH) 59:58
3 Hillary Kipchumba (KEN) 1:00:01
4 Haymanot Alew (ETH) 1:00:26
5 Adugna Takele Bikila (ETH) 1:00:26
6 Ali Kaya (TUR) 1:00:58
7 Peter Kwemoi (KEN) 1:01:18
8 Aziz Lahbabi (MAR) 1:01:26
9 Frankline Keitany Ngelel (KEN) 1:01:31
10 Guye Idemo Adola (ETH) 1:01:44

1 Ruth Chepngetich (KEN) 1:05:30
2 Dorcas Jepchirchir Tuitoek (KEN) 1:06:33
3 Helen Tola (ETH) 1:06:45
4 Netsanet Gudeta (ETH) 1:08:04
5 Yasemin Can (TUR) 1:08:29
6 Delvine Meringor (KEN) 1:08:35
7 Meskerem Amare (ETH) 1:09:18
8 Silenat Yismaw (ETH) 1:11:08
9 Perendis Lekapana (KEN) 1:13:00
10 Lilia Fisikovici (MDA) 1:13:54


Hassan breaks Berlin course record with 1:05:45

European 5000m champion Sifan Hassan smashed the 13-year-old course record at the Generali Berlin Half Marathon with 1:05:45, while Kenya’s William Wanjiku won the men’s title in 1:01:00 on Sunday (7).

Running in great conditions, Hassan was on pace to break her own European record of 1:05:15 during the early stages of the race, passing five kilometres in 15:27 and 10 kilometres in 30:51. Her pace dropped in the second half of the race but she still managed to win by a comfortable three-minute margin in 1:05:45.

“It is early in the season so I lacked a bit of speed,” she said. “I gave everything, but I simply could not run any faster.”

Kenya’s Veronica Nyaruai placed second in 1:08:51, finishing 11 seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Selamawit Bayoulgn.

In contrast to the women’s race, the men’s contest boiled down to a thrilling sprint finish at Brandenburg Gate.

A Kenyan quintet comprising William Wanjiku, Jacob Cheshari, Rhonzas Kilimo, Wilfred Kimitei and pacemaker Alfred Ngeno ran together through 10 kilometres (28:48) and 15 kilometres (43:28). Kimitei and Cheshari dropped back in the closing stages, leaving the other three to contest for the victory.

Wanjiku proved to have the better closing speed as he sprinted for the line to win by one second in 1:01:00. Kilimo took the runner-up spot, just one second ahead of Ngeno.

“We wanted to run 59 minutes, but our pace was not consistent which made it very difficult,” said Wanjiku. “I already knew after seven kilometres that we will not run sub one hour today, so I concentrated on simply winning the race.”

Organisers for the IAAF


Course record for Kiprono in Madrid

Kenya’s Kipkemoi Kiprono and Tigist Teshome of Ethiopia secured their respective victories at the Movistar Madrid Half Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label road race, on Sunday (7).

While the men’s victor managed to lower the previous race record by seven seconds thanks to a 1:01:47 performance, Teshome’s clocking came 28 seconds outside the women’s best.

The men’s race opened at a cautious rhythm as the first half of the race was uphill. The leading group reached five kilometres in 15:07, composed of 12 men including the favourites Kiprono, Ronald Kiptotich, Bernard Kiprop Kipyego, Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Abera and South Africa’s Desmond Mokgobu.

Kenya’s Langat Kipkurui went through the 10km checkpoint in 30:10 closely followed by Kiprono and the Ethiopian tandem of Abera and Erkihum Jenberie as the main group had whittled down to nine.

Once the race entered in the downhill section the pace increased dramatically. It was the eventual winner Kiprono who took charge of the race to clock a 14:32 split for the next five kilometres (44:43 overall), a pace that only Abera, Kiprotich and Erkihum could mustre.

Shortly before the 18th kilometre, Kiprono shook off his rivals and began to cushion his lead and turning his attention, successfully, to breaking the 1:01:54 course record.

In the fight for the runner-up spot Abera, a 2:04:24 marathoner, got the better of Kiprotich, 1:01:59 and 1:02:02 their respective times. The Ethiopian was making his first outing in 18 months while the unheralded Kenyan set a new career best.

Paced by Spain’s Francisco Javier de León, the women’s contest kicked off at a steady 3:20/km clip with five Ethiopian runners at the front: Teshome, Hawi Magersa, Abebech Mulugeta, Obse Abdeta and Aberu Ayana. Mulugeta was the first to drop while the remaining four clocked 33:32 for the opening 10km.

Around the 12th kilometre, Teshome and Magersa broke away, reaching 15 kilometres in 50:03. Teshome’s relentless pace paid off shortly afterwards when she forged on alone, eventually reaching the line in 1:10:08, a new personal best.

Magersa was second in 1:10:55 while Mulugeta regrouped to finish third in 1:11:08.

Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF



1 Kipkemoi Kiprono (KEN) 1:01:47
2 Tesfaye Abera (ETH) 1:01:59
3 Ronald Kiprotich (KEN) 1:02:02
4 Erkihum Jenberie (ETH) 1:02:47
5 Langat Kipkurui (KEN) 1:02:59
6 Daniel Lemashon (KEN) 1:02:59
7 Bernard Kiprop (KEN) 1:03:04
8 Desmond Mokgobu (RSA) 1:03:55

1 Tigist Teshome (ETH) 1:10:08
2 Hawi Magersa (ETH) 1:10:55
3 Abebech Mulugeta (ETH) 1:11:08
4 Obse Abdeta (ETH) 1:11:20
5 Aberu Ayana (ETH) 1:12:15
6 Elvanie Nimbona (BDI) 1:13:08


Kimeli wins second straight title at Prague Half Marathon, Kipkirui dominates women's race

Benard Kimeli successfully defended his title at the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Saturday (6).

Another Prague Half Marathon victory for Benard Kimeli


The 23-year-old Kenyan clocked 59:07 to prevail in a tight dual over compatriot Felix Kibitok, who finished one step and one second behind.

"I was well prepared, and the pacemakers did a good job and I am also happy with the time," said Kimeli, who clipped 40 seconds from his previous career best.

Kibitok also put in a strong performance, improving his lifetime best by 13 seconds.

The fastest half marathon runner of the year, Stephen Kiprop, finished third in 59:20. From the opening metres, the favoured Kenyan contingent broke away and ran together until the 15th kilometre.

Caroline Kipkirui clocked 1:05:44 to win the women's race by nearly half a minute over Lonah Salpeter of Israel, who clocked 1:06:09 to improve her own national record by 31 seconds. 

Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui winning the Prague Half Marathon


"I am happy to be able to improve my performance here, and I really did the best I was able to do," said Kipkirui, who holds a 1:05:07 personal best set last year to currently sit in the No.6 position on the world all-time list. "Although I was running almost the whole race myself, it was not easy, but I am glad that I could do it."

Lydia Mathathi was a distant third in 1:07:52.

The three ran together until they reached ten kilometres. Kipkirui then took the lead and was never threatened. Some muscle problems forced Fancy Chemutai, the second fastest woman in history over the distance, to drop out.

Organisers for the IAAF


Kimeli smashes course record in Kyiv

Having built up a lead of almost one minute at the half-way point of the Kyiv Half Marathon, Daisy Jeptoo Kimeli was nearly caught on the line but held on to win the IAAF Bronze Label road race by one second in a course record of 1:10:53.

Bernard Cheruiyot Sang made it a Kenyan double by winning the men’s race, another close contest, in 1:03:42.

Kimeli broke away from the rest of the field and built up a significant lead, reaching the 10-kilometre point in 32:33, 54 seconds ahead of her nearest pursuer, Ethiopia’s Shuko Genemo Wote. The 25-year-old still had a comfortable margin at 15 kilometres, reached in 49:42, but Wote started to make up ground in the last quarter of the race.

With Wote chasing hard, Kimeli just about managed to keep the Ethiopian at bay to win in 1:10:53 to Wote’s 1:10:54. The top seven athletes finished inside the previous course record of 1:13:44.

Unlike the women’s race, the men’s contest was close from start to finish. A group of nine men passed through the first five kilometres in 15:19 and only two athletes from the pack had dropped behind by the 10-kilometre point, reached in 30:27.

Just five men – Sang, Derara Hurisa, Tesfay Berhane, Geoffrey Kipkirui Korir and Roman Romanenko – remained in the lead pack at 15 kilometres (45:52), but at the end it became a two-man contest between Sang and Hurisa. Sang eventually prevailed in 1:03:42, two seconds ahead of Hurisa.

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