Hail the Half Marathon Queen Peres Jepchirchir
Two falls, a 3-way sprint finish, and a new world record: the World Half Marathon Championships were full of drama.
In a cold Gydnia, the ladies went out at record setting pace. Running in a tight pack on a slippery course with tight turns, you could almost anticipate there was trouble in store. There were two big falls, the defining one being when Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN) and Ababel Yeshaneh (ETH) got tangled up. Peres Jepchirchir reacted quickly and jumped over the two fallen women.
From then on, it was a race between Peres, Melat Kejeta of Germany, and Yalemzerf Yehualaw of Ethiopia. It came down to a sprint finish, and the mighty Peres Jepchirchir won it in 1:05:16. A time that broke her own women-only world record, which was just ratified last week. Kejeta and Yehualaw were also under Peres’s old world-record time, but they just couldn’t match the finish of the champion.
The Ethiopian women finished 3, 4, and 5 and took the team gold, with Kenya coming second, and Germany third.
Here is a short highlight video.
If you’re in the US or have a VPN, you can watch this longer video of the final minutes.
With 3 world records (although this new one is yet to be ratified), Peres is certainly the half marathon all-time great. She is now focused on Valencia Marathon in December.
The men’s race was a less dramatic affair. Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda narrowly beat Kibiwott Kandie, who says he miscalculated the race, by 6 seconds. Leonard Barsoton was sixth and Bernard Kimeli ninth. That was good enough for the Kenyan men to bring home the team gold medal ahead of Ethiopia and Uganda in third. Here’s a video with some highlights of the men’s race.
4 Years For Daniel Wanjiru
The Athletics Integrity Unit Disciplinary Tribunal has handed Kenyan distance runner Daniel Wanjiru a four year ban for an Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) violation.
ABP is used to monitor selected biological variables over time that indirectly reveal the effects of doping rather than attempting to detect the doping substance or method itself. Daniel’s ban has been backdated to 09 Dec 2019, with his results from 18 December 2019 on being disqualified.
Wanjiru’s management Volare Sports is disappointed in the ban stating that World Athletics accused Daniel of use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method based on one anomaly in his Athlete Biological Passport.
“Our experts have provided a valid explanation for the anomalous blood value and have demonstrated how unlikely and unrealistic the doping scenario - as presented by World Athletics – was. Unfortunately the Disciplinary Tribunal decided to adhere to the expertise of the experts of World Athletics,” statement read emphasizing that Daniel Wanjiru is innocent and no prohibited substance has ever been found.
The ban is appealable at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Is Technology a New Form of Doping?
Tech! Tech! Athletics is becoming a ‘tech hub’ with innovative taking the center stage. From the new generation of racing shoes to the 2020 Wave light technology paced world records by Joshua Cheptegei and Letesenbet Gidey, athletics is changing fast.
Kenya retired athlete Moses Tanui is faulting the technology saying it is no different with doping and therefore results should be classified differently, a remark Hellen Obiri agrees with. Tanui won the 10,000m world championship title and Boston Marathon two times. He insists if World Athletics ratifies Joshua Cheptegei’s and Gidey’s world records, then Eliud Kipchoge’s 1:59.41 mark should also be ratified, reason being it is under the same conditions.
Our take: technology will advance, and to try and stop it is futile and also stops us from exploring the limits of human capabilities. However, there is a tragedy when tech determines who wins a race or who sets a record. Athlete’s bodies respond differently to new tech, and to hear Bekele tell it - tech is now determining who is racing and who is winning. There’s no clear perfect answer.
Uganda is coming and really faaast!
Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo is a history maker. The 19 year old won the mens gold medal at the World Half Marathon championships, the first global title for him as a senior. This is the first time ever in the 28-year history of this event that a Ugandan athlete stood proud atop the podium. Uganda has never won any medals at the World Half Championships.
This wasn’t unexpected though, the youngster was always in the leading group. And contrary to the women’s race, the men opted for a more moderate tempo early on. Kiplimo put in a surge over the last of the four laps, hitting the front to cut the tape in a championship record of 58:49. He wasn’t alone though. His national team mate Joshua Cheptegei, on his half marathon debut, finished fourth under one hour - 59:21.
Athletics Not Doing Enough for Social Justice
American middle distance runner Bernard Lagat says athletics is not doing enough in the fight against social injustices. Runners are yet to join the Black Lives Matter protests as visibly as their colleagues in the NBA, Tennis, football and Formula One. The former Kenyan says Track and field athletes should be able to protest without fearing punishment. And the International Olympics Committee needs to look at changing rule 50 to allow athletes to protest during the Tokyo Olympic Games.
From Us At Enda
Today is Mashujaa day in Kenya. A day when Kenya celebrates her heroes and heroines.
We want to celebrate one hero in particular today: veteran runner Caroline Nduta.
A year ago, we posted a photo of Caroline running the Nairobi StanChart Marathon, and people were rightly impressed by her speed at her age. We’d hope to share this video of her to celebrate the marathon this year, but with all the races cancelled, we think Mashujaa Day is the perfect time to share this heroine’s story.
Happy Mashujaa Day.
From the Enda Community
Seems like this past weekend was one of half-marathon achievements. Claudia did her first half marathon, and Beth crushed her marathon PB!
Claudia says, “I ran 21.1Km today. By myself. For the first time ever, the run was both a mental and a physical struggle -but I made it through.
Last 4KMs I had the song ‘survivin’ by Bastille, and honestly, that’s all I was trying to do.’’
And congratulations Beth on crushing your half marathon PB in Watamu Blues! She says, “Couldn’t have crushed my half marathon time without my Endas! Best training shoes ever!’’