Netsanet Kebede Breaks Women's-Only World Record For Half Marathon

Netsanet Kebede of Ethiopia broke the women's-only world with a time of 1:06:11 to win the IAAF World Half Marathon Championship in Valencia, Spain today.

She is the third woman from Ethiopia to claim the individual gold at the event. The previous women's-only world record of 1:06:25 was set by Lornah Kiplagat in 2007.

Kebede was fearless in her approach versus the overwhelming favorite, Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya, who twice broke the world record over 13.1 miles last year with a best of 1:04:51. 

Jepkosgei led the group early through 5K in 15:39, but Kebede took over by 10K (31:38 split) and, as the lead pack fractured, Kebede only increased her advantage. 

By 15K, Kebede led Jepkosgei by eight seconds as the world record holder ran in third behind her countrywoman, Pauline Kamulu, who ran four seconds behind the leader. By 20K, Kebede increased her lead by 40 seconds over Kamulu and Jepkosgei with a 1:02:53 split and was well clear of her competition as she roared through the final straightaway to the finish line.

Jepkosgei rallied to pass Kamulu with about a kilometer remaining and would end up second in 1:06:54 as Kamulu ran 1:06:56.

The top three team positions went to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Bahrain. The team scores are tabulated by the aggregate finishing time for each nation's top three runners.

The U.S. women placed ninth overall with a depleted squad. Three women originally named to the team withdrew due to injury, including Jordan Hasay, Sara Hall, and Natosha Rogers. 

Emma Bates was Team USA's top finisher in 27th place with a personal best of 1:11:45. Becky Wade was 21st in 1:12:31 and Elaina Tabb was 64th in 1:14:55.

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When Shadrack Kipchirchir lines up for the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships on March 30 in Aarhus, Denmark, the 30-year-old American is hoping for the nastiest weather that the Danish city can provide.

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