Peres Jepchirchir Sets Women-Only Half-Marathon WR

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Just hours after Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands broke the world one-hour record on the track in Brussels, Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya broke the women-only world record for the half-marathon in Letná Park in Prague in the elite-only Prague 21.1 KM.  The petite athlete from Kapsabet clocked 1:05:34, smashing the ratified World Athletics record of 1:06:11 set by Netsanet Gudeta at the World Athletics Half-Marathon Championships in Valencia in March, 2018.

"I am so happy, happy," she said in her brief post-race television interview.  "I'm proud."

A field of seven women set out at sunrise on the specially-designed 16.5-lap course which had long straightaways and tight, teardrop turns at each end. Led by Kenyan pacemakers Brenda Jepleting and Lilian Jepkorir Chebii, the pace was aggressive from the start. Jepchirchir, dressed in black and white adidas kit, pushed up close to the pacers early on, anxious to run fast.

The 5-kilometer checkpoint was reached in about 15:23, well inside of world record schedule. The pace was already too hot for the pacemaker Chebii, and she fell well back. Jepleting led the all-Kenyan field of Jepchirchir, Edith Chelimo, Dorcas Jepchumba Kimeli, Vibian Chepkirui, and Sheila Chepkirui.

With a live drum ensemble accompanying the recorded music, Peres was feeling frisky. Just 20 minutes into the race, she left the field and forged ahead on her own. Her lead stretched to 10 meters in under a minute, and by the time she hit 10-K in a blistering 30:32 she was all alone.

"She must feel comfortable to take it on this early, to do it on her own," commented Dutchman Michel Boeting during the television broadcast.

Her long braids bobbing behind her, Jepchirchir was running each of the 1280-meter laps well under four minutes, a pace of about 3:03 per kilometer. She might have been running too fast.

"Let me tell you, that's fast," said Boeting.

Going into six laps (7680m) to go, Jepchirchir completed the previous circuit in 4:06, the slowest of the race. Her form wasn't as clean, her stride not as bouncy, as before. However, that was the pace she could hold, and it was good enough to bring her to the finish with the record.

"Yes, I am satisfied," she said. "Maybe I was thinking I was going to run 64:50."

The men's race played out similarly, but since it started later it was much hotter. Despite the heat, Kibiwott Kandie broke away from the field after 10-K, then ran alone to the finish in 58:37, making him the fifth-fastest man in history.

"Yes, I am satisfied with the time for today," he said in his post-race television interview. He added: "It was up to me to run alone."

Philemon Kiplimo Kimaiyo finished second and was the only other man to break the one-hour mark (59:56). Third place went to Benson Kipruto in 1:00:06.

Arkansas Star Taylor Werner Signs With Puma

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University of Arkansas All-American Taylor Werner has turned professional and signed with Puma, according to multiple sources. Werner will join a newly established Puma-sponsored group in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Running Towards Her Dreams

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Via Under Armour

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Weini Kelati Signs With Under Armour, Joins Dark Sky Distance Team

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Two-time NCAA champion Weini Kelati of New Mexico has turned professional and signed a sponsorship deal with Under Armour. The 2019 NCAA cross country national champion is joining the new Dark Sky Distance group in Flagstaff, Arizona, coached by Stephen Haas, which includes notable athletes Sharon Lokedi and Rachel Schneider, among others.

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Michigan State Coach Walt Drenth Retires

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November 22, 2014, was a magical day for Michigan State director of cross country and track and field, Walt Drenth.  His Spartan women, six of whom came from Michigan high schools, showed their superior depth and dominated the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., despite putting only one athlete --sophomore Rachele Schulist-- in the top-10.  They scored 85 points to Iowa State's 147, giving Michigan State their first and only women's national cross country title.

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Event Records Smashed At Delhi Half Marathon

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WATCH LIVE: D'Amato & Seidel Chase American 10 Mile Record

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Brandon Miles/MileSplit

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Clemson Cuts Men's Track and Field, Cross Country

John Lewis

Clemson University announced on Thursday that it is cutting men’s indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country effective June 2021, becoming the first Power Five school to eliminate all three programs in 2020.

D'Amato, Pearson Impress At Michigan Pro Half Marathon

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Christian Coleman Receives Two-Year Suspension

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Christian Coleman, the 2019 100m world champion, has been banned from the sport for two years. The fastest man in the world now will likely miss next summer's Olympics, the result of a case that was rooted in missed drug tests and spanned the past two years.

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How to Watch: 2020 Valencia Marathon

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Here's how to watch the 2020 Valencia Marathon on FloTrack.