Cameron SpencerGetty Images
Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey on Sunday broke the world record for the women’s half marathon at the Valencia half marathon.
In her distance debut, Gidey finished in 1:02:52 – 70 seconds faster than Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich, who set a new world record in the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon in April.
The 23-year-old is also the world record holder in the 5,000m and 10,000m. She broke the 10,000m record at the Ethiopian Olympic Trials in July this year and the 5,000m last October on NN Valencia World Record Day – a record that had lasted 12 years. She also won Olympic bronze in the 10,000m in Tokyo this summer.
Paced by Mebrahtu Kiros on Sunday, Gidey crossed the 5K in 3:00 p.m. and reached the 10K in 29:45 – just seven seconds off the world distance record. She reached the 15km point in 44:29 and, although her pace slowed slightly over the last 6km, a world record was well within her grasp. “I want to thank everyone who helped me achieve this goal,” said Gidey after the race. “I love Valencia, it’s a wonderful city and it’s almost a second home for me. I ran really fast in the first part of the race, but had to train hard for it, even up to 30 kilometers. Here’s the result.’
His compatriot Yalemzerf Yehualaw stayed close to Gidey until 5K before the gap started to widen. She finished second behind Gidey in 1:03:51 – also breaking Chepngetich’s world record. Kenyan Sheila Chepkirui completed the podium with a PB of 1:04:54.
On the men’s side, Kenyan Abel Kipchumba took the win, beating compatriot Rhonex Kipruto in the last few hundred meters to finish in 58:07. Kipruto was second in 58:09 and Daniel Mateiko was 17 seconds behind in 58:26. “I want to thank the organization for making a very fast race,” Kipchumba said afterwards. “I beat Rhonex, who is a great runner, it’s very hard to beat him. Although I won the Berlin Half Marathon in September, my goal this year is Valencia and today’s time has proven it. ‘
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