Peres Jepchirchir makes history in Riga as she leads a clean Kenyan podium sweep

World Athletics

ATHLETICS Peres Jepchirchir makes history in Riga as she leads a clean Kenyan podium sweep

Abigael Wafula 15:40 - 01.10.2023

With her win in Riga, Jepchirchir becomes the fourth woman to win the world half marathon title three times.

Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir has made history at the World Road Running Championships by successfully defending her world half marathon title.

She becomes the fourth woman to successfully win three tiles over the distance after Kenya’s Tegla Loroupe, Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, and the Netherlands’ Lornah Kiplagat. 

The 30-year-old led a clean Kenya sweep with Margaret Kipkemboi and Catherine Reline finishing second and third respectively. 

The women’s half marathon had assembled a strong field that comprised Olympians and World Championships medallists.

As the athletes passed the 5km mark, the Kenyan trio of Jepchirchir, Catherine Reline, and Irine Kimais were looking comfortable running in the front. Margaret Kipkemboi was also in the mix but not visible enough from the front.

Great Britain’s Samantha Harrison was also running in the leading pack and controlled the pace for the better part of the first 5km.

She stayed in the front and kept applying the pressure, pushing the race and waiting for others to drop and the Kenyans were enjoying the race running behind the Briton.

Passing the 10km mark, Harrison was still leading the pack with Jepchirchir, the Olympic champion, running in second place.

As they passed the 15km mark, the four Kenyans were still running in the front with Reline, Kipkemboi, and Kimais running in the front and the Briton also holding onto the pack. The battle was now between Kenyans and Ethiopians.

Harrison was also in the mix but at the time, looking uncomfortable but she was enjoying the company of her compatriot, Calli Thackery.

Jepchirchir was running in fifth place with the Ethiopian duo of Tsigie Gebreselama and Ftaw Zeray were also in the lead.

As they approached the 20km mark, the battle was between the four Kenyans and one Ethiopian, Gebreselama.

With 800m to go, Reline was leading the pack, with the defending champion, Jepchirchir running in fifth place. As they made the final turn, Kipkemboi was in the lead, as Jepchirchir ran in second place with Reline running in third.

With the finish line in sight, Jepchirchir unleashed a finishing kick that saw her defend her title and win three successful titles in the event.

World Athletics

Meanwhile, the men's race was also a repeat of the same with Sebastian Sawe carrying the day as he clocked 59:10 to win the race. Daniel Simiu took second place in 59:14 as Samwel Mailu sealed the podium clocking 59:19 to cross the finish line. 

Simiu was leading for the better of the race but he seemed to be struggling. With close to 80m to the finish line, Sawe overlapped his compatriot and ran away with the top honours. 

Simiu had initially opened a huge gap between himself and his competitors but was not strong enough to keep up with the momentum. 

On his part, Sawe maintained his running in second place and unleashed a strong finishing kick that saw him emerge champion.