Letesenbet Gidey world record

Mind blowing performance by Letesenbet Gidey

World half marathon record blown apart in 'world record city'

Here at runABC, we like to keep you informed of significant performances around the world and this week our minds were blown by news from Valencia, dubbed the 'world record city' for good reason, where Letesenbet Gidey destroyed the women's world half marathon record on Sunday (24 October).

In her first race for the powerful NN Running Team, astonishingly on her debut at 13.1 miles, the current holder of the 5,000m and 10,000m world records added the half marathon when she broke the prepared Valencia World Record ribbon in 1:02:52 – which we had to check wasn't a misprint, or a men's time! 

To put this performance into some sort of perspective it advances Ruth Chepngetich's previous world record by a whopping 70 seconds and only six British men have run faster this year! Gidey is the first woman to go under 63 minutes for 13.1 miles, having leap-frogged the entire sub-64-minutes category! And she is the first athlete in history to break the world record on her debut at the distance. 

Gidey's other world records are 14:06.62 for 5,000m in Valencia last October and 29:01:03 for 10,000m in Hengelo on 8 June 2021. The 23-year-old Ethiopian also holds the world best for 15K (44:20) set at Nijmegen in November 2019, becoming the first woman to go under 45 minutes for that distance.

Here in Valencia, Gidey blasted through 5K in 15:00; 10K in 29:45 (seven seconds outside the world 10K record) and 15K in 44:29 – running her third 5K split in 14:44, just one second slower than the world 5K record that was only broken last month!

Understandably, she slowed slightly over the final phase but finished strongly to usher in a new era of what might be possible for women's endurance running and a widely anticipated marathon debut. Fellow Ethiopian, Yalemzerf Yehualaw (1:03:51) also went inside the former world record and Kenya's Sheila Chepkirui (1:04:53) was third.

The men's race in Valencia was the strongest in depth in history with an unprecedented seven men under 59 minutes, although Kibiwott Kandie's 2020 course and world record 57:32 was not breached. The top three in a superb battle were all Kenyans: Abel Kipchumba (58:07), Rhonex Kipruto (58:09), and Daniel Mateiko (58:26). 

Brief highlights video of Letesenbet Gidey's world record run here:

Image courtesy Valencia Ciudad Running on Twitter

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