On Sunday, April 4, Ruth Chepngetich led a historic half marathon in Istanbul, Turkey.

The 26-year-old from Kenya won the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon in 1:04:02 (for the third time), breaking the previous world record of 1:04:31, set by Ababel Yeshaneh in February 2020, by 29 seconds. 

Chepngetich improved on her personal best by more than a minute.

Behind Chepngetich, Yalemzerf Yehualaw of Ethiopia was the runner-up in 1:04:40 and two-time 5,000-meter world champion Helen Obiri finished third in 1:04:51, the fastest 13.1 debuts in history.

Chepngetich started to pull away from the top group—which included Yehualaw and Obiri at the 15K in 45:29—with less than 10 minutes remaining in the race. She ran the fourth 5K segment on her own in 15:13 and maintained her sizable lead into the finish line. She covered the half marathon distance with an average pace of 4:53 per mile.

PHOTO CREDIT: Spor İstanbul

“I am really happy with this amazing result,” said Chepngetich. “The world record is something I have been dreaming about for some time, and I am so happy to do it on the streets of Istanbul.”

It was Chepngetich’s third victory in Istanbul and her third improvement on the course record. Her 2017 triumph in 1:06:19 was one of her first big breakthrough runs, then she returned two years later to win in 1:05:30. Two years ago, five months after she won the Turkish half marathon in a then-course record, she won gold in the marathon at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

In November 2020, she finished second to Yehaulaw by running a then-personal best of 1:05:06 at the International Airtel Half Marathon in New Delhi, India. At the time, Yehaulaw clocked the second fastest half-marathon ever by winning the race in 1:04:46.

Kibiwott Kandie, the current men’s half marathon record holder, won the men’s race, setting a new course record with his 59:35 finish. Three-time world half-marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor finished second in 59:38.

Leading results

Women
1 Ruth Chepngetich (KEN) 1:04:02
2 Yalemzerf Yehualaw (ETH) 1:04:40
3 Hellen Obiri (KEN) 1:04:51
4 Joan Chelimo Melly (KEN) 1:05:09
5 Brigid Kosgei (KEN) 1:06:01
6 Hiwot Gebrekidan (ETH) 1:06:47
7 Bekelech Gudeta (ETH) 1:06:54
8 Alia Saeed Mohammed (UAE) 1:07:31
9 Melat Kejeta (GER) 1:07:33
10 Yasemin Can (TUR) 1:08:32

Men
1 Kibiwott Kandie (KEN) 59:35
2 Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN) 59:38
3 Roncer Kipkorir (KEN) 59:46
4 Amdework Walelegn (ETH) 59:48
5 Leonard Barsoton (KEN) 59:59
6 Stephen Kissa (UGA) 1:00:02
7 Benard Ngeno (KEN) 1:00:28
8 Vestus Chemjor (KEN) 1:02:07
9 Getaye Fisseha Gelaw (ETH) 1:03:32
10 Aras Kaya (TUR) 1:03:36