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African Athletes Take Over Istanbul Half Marathon to Set New Records

African athletes continued with their tremendous fine form at the Vodafone 12th Istanbul Half Marathon after Kenya and Tanzania took gold in the women’s and men’s categories respectively, to each break the Turkish all-comers’ record.

In the elite women’s category, Ruth Chepngetich finished first in 1:06:19 ahead of Eunice Kirwa in the second position with a timing of 1:06:46, while Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa came third in 1:08:55.

Tanzania’s Ismail Juma won the elite men’s category in 1:00:09, followed by Ethiopia’s Terifa Debela in 1:00:22, and Kenya’s Edwin Kipsang Rotich finishing in third with a time of 1:00:37.

Sponsored by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Spor Istanbul and Vodafone, the Istanbul Marathon which hosted more than 5,000 athletes, is one of the world’s top marathon events and an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

“… We have not confined ourselves by only giving our brand name to marathons, but also by making communication investments and support their familiarity globally. This is the fourth time we sponsored the Istanbul Half Marathon and we have continually improved the quality of the event.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“As a result, the event has been chosen as one of the best 10 marathons in the world by the IAAF. We are very proud. We will continue to support the Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon,”[/perfectpullquote]

Vodafone Turkey Vice Chairman Engin Aksoy said

This year’s event competed in three major categories, namely “Half Marathon,” “Quarter Marathon,” and “Business Marathon.”

Within five kilometers of the women’s race, it had become clear over who would finish in the top three save for the order in which the race would be won until the final five-kilometer section.

Chepngetich and Olympic marathon silver medalist Kirwa shook off Degefa approaching the 10-kilometer mark after the trio took a huge lead in the first five kilometers of the race.

After running neck-to-neck through the 15-kilometer mark, Kirwa then struggled to keep up with Chepngetich over the final few kilometers.

The 23-year-old’s record which takes 28 seconds off the Turkish all-comers’ record set two years ago by 2014 world half-marathon champion, Gladys Cherono, is her fourth Personal Best and victory.

Among those so far won in 2017 include wins in Adana (1:09:06), Paris (1:08:08), and Milan (1:07:42) but the time set in Istanbul, places her at 12th on the world all-time list.



Tanzania’s Ismail Juma clinched the title with a record-breaking 1:00:09 on the clock. (Courtesy of IAAF)


In the men’s category, it was a tightly contested marathon but it was also decided in the closing stages of the race.

Kenya’s Vincent Yator led a closely knit pack of 10 men who were still in contention at the 10-kilometer mark.

However, on reaching the 15-kilometer mark Juma, Debela, and Rotich caught up with Yator whose efforts to pull away were jeopardized by the trio who formed a new leading pack.

Juma pulled away even harder in an attempt to finish within 60 minutes after reaching the 20-kilometer mark in 57:05, but fell short by 9 seconds nevertheless, still registered a Personal Best time and record.

The win takes four seconds off the Turkish all-comers’ record set in 2015 by Evans Kiplagat.

Impressively, Juma who finished ninth at the 2015 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, took more than two minutes off his Personal Best.

Chepngetich was awarded $25,000 together with a time bonus while Juma took home $15,000. A total of $250,000 prize money was awarded to the winners.


1) Ruth Chepngetich (KEN) 1:06:19

2) Eunice Kirwa (BRN) 1:06:46

3) Worknesh Degefa (ETH) 1:08:55

4) Meskerem Amare (ETH) 1:10:00

5) Muliye Dekebo (ETH) 1:10:07

6) Esther Chesang Kakuri (KEN) 1:10:07

7) Tejitu Daba (BRN) 1:10:28

8) Hiwot Gebrekidan (ETH) 1:11:05


1) Ismail Juma (TAN) 1:00:09

2) Terefa Debela (ETH) 1:00:22

3) Edwin Kipsang Rotich (KEN) 1:00:37

4) Adugna Takele (ETH) 1:00:45

5) Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (TUR) 1:00:51

6) Vincent Yator (KEN) 1:01:01

7) Peter Kwemoi Ndorobo (KEN) 1:01:15

8) Evans Kiplagat (AZE) 1:01:47





Featured photo: Ruth Chepngetich won the women’s event in the Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race. (Courtesy of IAAF)

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