10 May 2023, 12pm
NKolay İstanbul Half Marathon
Sun 30 April 2023
Overtaking fellow-Kenyan and race favourite Ruth Chepngetich the 24 year-old stormed to her biggest career win with a personal best of 1:06:30. Course record holder Chepngetich followed in second with 1:07:18 while Evaline Chirchir made it an all-Kenyan podium with 1:07:31. Stella Rutto of Romania was the fastest European, finishing 10th with 1:10:05.
In partly windy conditions hopes for a course record faded in the men’s race as well after a fast first section. 27 year-old Daniel Ebenyo of Kenya was the winner of Turkey’s best quality road race with 59:52. Marokko’s Hicham Amghar took second place in 59:58 and Haftu Teklu clocked 1:00:03 for third. Britain’s Marc Scott was the best European runner in 1:03:17 for 12th place.
A record number of 12,300 runners competed in the 18th edition of the half marathon and the 10k race staged parallel. Many athletes ran for charity, collecting money for the victims of the devastating earthquake that shook southern Turkey earlier this year. “It was a nice race and especially the men’s elite was very competitive. We are happy that we continue to register record fields. It is always exciting to experience the historic atmosphere here in Istanbul and we are now inviting everyone to be back for our marathon on 5 November,” said Race Director Reynar Onur.
Ruth Chepngetich sped away from the field right after the start, passing the 5k mark in 15:16. The Kenyan was almost on course for breaking her Kenyan record and her Istanbul course record of 1:04:02 – which in 2021 was a world record as well. However once the 2019 Marathon World Champion came off Galata Bridge and had to run against the wind for almost 4km she slowed considerably. At the 10k point her 31:09 split time then indicated a 65:45 finish and her lead had shrunk to only four seconds. Purity Komen, Evaline Chirchir and Ethiopia’s Bosena Mulatie caught her up soon after. Komen, who had only been ranked ninth on the start list with a PB of 1:07:08, moved ahead before the 15km mark. Chepngetich tried to follow her in a bid to make it six wins from six races in Istanbul, but was unable to do so. Purity Komen won the race with 1:06:30 and became the first woman to beat Ruth Chepngetich on the historic roads of Istanbul.
“Maybe the race came a bit too soon after the Nagoya Marathon in March,” said Ruth Chepngetich. “I have not yet decided if I will run the World Championships marathon or an autumn race. The big goal is the Olympic Games next year and I hope to be selected for the team.” While Ruth Chepngetich is an experienced marathoner the victory in Istanbul may well have brought Purity Komen closer to her debut at the classic distance. “I was surprised when I suddenly saw Ruth in front of me and was then able to pass her,” said Komen. “I had hoped to achieve a 65 minutes’ time, but it was too windy today. I plan to run my marathon debut next year.”
The men’s race began very fast as well with the first couple of split times indicating a finishing time of around 58:00. But as in the women’s competition the pace then dropped once the leading group hit the wind. A group of around 10 athletes passed the 10km mark in 28:22 while Kenya’s Daniel Ebenyo and Hicham Amghar of Morocco were pushing the pace. Soon after the 15km (42:33) Ebenyo took the lead, covering the next kilometre in 2:46. Only Amghar was able to follow him, but when Ebenyo gestured to him to help with the pace the Moroccan stayed behind. Ebenyo then pressed ahead and opened up a decisive gap with around 4km to go.
“I am excited to have won this race. My aim was to run 59:00 minutes but it was too windy for that,“ said Ebenyo. “I will probably run my marathon debut next year. Maybe I will come back to Istanbul for that.”