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Ruth Chepngetich: Kenyan breaks world record for half marathon, beating old record by 29 seconds | Athletics News

Ruth Chepngetich sprinted away from Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw across the final stages to win the Istanbul Half Marathon and set a new world record; the 26-year-old beat the previous record, set 14 months ago by Ababel Yeshaneh, by 29 seconds

Last Updated: 04/04/21 11:51am

Ruth Chepngetich won the Istanbul Half Marathon by 38 seconds

Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich smashed the world half marathon record on Sunday, clocking a time of 1:04:02 at the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon to shave 29 seconds off the old mark.

The 26-year-old, a winner in 2017 and 2019, sprinted away from Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw across the final stages of the race to win by 38 seconds and beat the previous record set by Ababel Yeshaneh in Ras Al Khaimah in February last year.

Kenyan Hellen Obiri a two-time world 5,000m champion finished third with a time of 1:04:51 – the fastest debut half marathon in history – to mark the first time three women finished inside 65 minutes in one half marathon.

Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya won the men’s race in a time of 59:35.

Kandie, who set the world record in Valencia last year, raced into the lead with about 12 minutes remaining and held off the challenge of compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor to claim victory by three seconds, with Roncer Kipkorir taking third place.

Thompson on Olympics marathon at 40: Age is just a number

By Mathieu Wood

“Age is one of those strange things we put labels on. As much as I will be 40, I still want to go there and compete hard because I still take myself very seriously as an athlete and not just someone who is defying odds in a way.”

Chris Thompson celebrates victory at the Great Britain marathon trials last month

Chris Thompson celebrates victory at the Great Britain marathon trials last month

Chris Thompson’s international athletics career dates back to 1998 when he ran the 3000m steeplechase in the World Junior Championships.

Twenty-three years since he first wore a GB vest and the now marathon runner is readying himself for a second appearance at the Olympics this summer – “I want to go there with an attitude that I can go and compete,” he tells Sky Sports News.

Thompson, among the first seven members of the Team GB athletics squad confirmed for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, won his spot with victory at the Great Britain marathon trials last month.

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Marathon runner Chris Thompson explains an added special significance of securing qualification for Team GB at the Tokyo Games, by which time he will be 40

Marathon runner Chris Thompson explains an added special significance of securing qualification for Team GB at the Tokyo Games, by which time he will be 40

He achieved it in style, running the Kew Gardens course in two hours 10 mins 50 seconds, 40 seconds inside the qualifying time. It was also a lifetime best for Thompson, who turns 40 later this month.

Qualification on the day had proved far from straightforward. With around seven miles of the race left to run, he was 34-35 seconds off the pace before he regained his place at the front.

“It was a weird sporting moment for me to really have my back against the wall,” Thompson says. “In boxing terms, I was on the ropes.”

It is 11 years since his first and only international medal – 10,000m silver behind Mo Farah at the European Championships in Barcelona.

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Thompson says he ‘was on the ropes’ in the Great Britain marathon trials before ultimately qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Thompson says he ‘was on the ropes’ in the Great Britain marathon trials before ultimately qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Reflecting further on his trials victory, he adds: “I was watching my Olympic dreams disappear in front of me and it wasn’t just an Olympic dream on the day, it was possibly marking the end to my career in a lot of ways.

“There was so much on the line, I didn’t have a qualifying time. I needed to be top two, this was almost certainly my last chance…

“Somehow, I did it.”

Securing Olympic qualification for Thompson was made all the more special as it followed shortly after he became a father to Theo earlier that week.

“I don’t know what is more unbelievable, holding Theo right now as a dad or the fact that I am going to my second Olympics,” says Thompson, who finished 25th in the 10,000m at London 2012.

“I am not a mushy person. Sports has hardened me a bit, but he has really taken down the barriers. To have him at 39 really is but a number.”

Thompson says heat chambers will likely now be part of his preparation for competing in Japan this summer, with the race to be held in Sapporo.

“The tougher the conditions, I’d have loved it to be high up in Japan, the better, because the more it is about the prep and not just about the way the big city marathons go with pacemakers,” he says.

Representing Great Britain once again this summer will take on extra significance personally for Thompson, with a former team-mate now the head coach at UK Athletics.

“It is also really sweet because when I first ran with my GB vest the athlete that won the 100 and 200m was Christian Malcolm at that,” explains Thompson, who will be joined by fellow British marathon runners Callum Hawkins and Ben Connor.

“Now he is going to be the team manager at the Olympics and I was actually his first GB athlete to phone to tell that had made the Olympic team.

“That makes me feel even older but at the same time also really special as well.”

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