Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw shatters women’s world half marathon record

MADRID, SPAIN – DECEMBER 31. Runners Yalemzerf Yehualaw Densa (l) and Ruth Chepngetich (r), during the San Silvestre Vallecana 2020 race, on December 31, 2020, in Madrid, Spain. In the Female Elite category, Yalemzerf Yehualaw Densa won the first place, Ruth Chepngetich the second, Alessia Zarbo the third and Carolina Robles the fourth. The San Silvestre Vallecana race has been run on December 31st through the streets nearby the Ciudad Deportiva del Rayo Vallecano a few hours before the midnight bells are rung. Due to the pandemic, this popular race has been transformed into a virtual event, but the Female and Male Elite categories have made a four-lap tour on a 2.5 kilometer circuit in the surroundings of the Ciudad Deportiva del Rayo Vallecano, in Ensanche de Vallecas. In total, 400 professional athletes, 250 men and 150 women, have fought for the victory in this emblematic event. (Photo by Jesús Hellín/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw wrote her name in the history books on Sunday after she won the women’s Antrim Coast Half Marathon in Larne, Northern Ireland, breaking the world record in the process.

Yehualaw emerged victorious in a time of 1:03:44 shattering the previous record set by Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich of 1:04:02 in Istanbul in April by a massive 18 seconds.

The 22-year-old’s stunning victory also saw her become the first woman to run under 64 minutes for the half marathon. After the race, she described her feat as “a dream come true for me”.

“I have tried twice before to break the world record but it didn’t happen, but I’m so happy it happened today in Larne,” Yehualaw said.

Kenya’s 19-year-old Jane Nyaboke finished second in 1:09:45, just over six minutes behind Yehualaw, while Britain’s Rose Harvey was third in 1:10:29.

The men’s race was also won by an Ethiopian, Jemal Yimer, the national record holder, who crossed the finish line in 1:00:30 ahead of his compatriot Tesfahun Akalnew (1:00:31) and Kenya’s Shadrack Kimining (1:00:32).

Yimer, who will line up to make his marathon debut in Boston in October, said he was pleased with his win.

“I had prepared for a course record but due to the wind and the circumstances I didn’t make sub-60 but I am happy with the win.”

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