Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa caused a slight surprise when she took the women’s title in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in 1:07:42.
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, winner of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games marathon title, won the men’s category in 59:44 followed by Yigrem Demelash of Ethiopia..
Despite Degefa being the fastest woman in the field, all eyes were on the reigning world half marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, who had won her previous four outings over the distance this year.
However, Delhi proved to be one race too many for the Kenyan who had said before the race that she had been suffering from blisters on her feet and a cold in the proceeding weeks.
Six runners, led by Degefa with her compatriot Ababel Yeshaneh and Jepchirchir running directly behind her, were still in contention up to 18 kilometres before Degefa pushed hard and split up the pack.
No one could stay with her and she crossed the line 10 seconds in front of Yeshaneh. The two Ethiopians were followed home by three Kenyans with Helah Kiprop taking third in 1:08:11, Gladys Chesir fourth in 1:08:23 and the tiring Jepchirchir fifth in 1:08:28.