Letesenbet Gidey Runs 62:52 To SMASH Half Marathon World Record

Was That The Greatest Race EVER Run By A Human?

By LetsRun.com
October 24, 2021

23-year-old Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey, the women’s world record holder at 5,000 and 10,000 meters, made her half marathon debut today at the Valencia Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso and produced one of the greatest performances in the history of athletics as she ran 62:52, taking more than a minute off Ruth Chepnegetich’s women’s world record of 64:02 (and also much faster than the unratified 63:44 that Yalemzerf Yehualaw ran on a course that was 54 meters short).

To put 62:52 into perspective isn’t easy. According to World Athletics scoring tables, it’s worth the following times at other distances.

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100 meters – 10.44
200 meters – 21.18
400 meters – 47.10
800 meters – 1:51.22
1500 meters – 3:45.54
5000 meters – 13:39.43
10,000 meters – 28:38.00
Marathon – 2:11:17

All of those marks are way better than the current world records.

Official splits are still hard to come from via the tracking website, but the unofficial 5k, 10k and 15k splits sent to us (h/t Brandon Demers) by Gidey are astounding.

5k: 15:00
10k: 29:45 (14:45)
15k: 44:29 (14:44)
20k: 59:46 (15:17)

Update: Race organizers have sent us the 20k split – 59:46 (15:17) – and an explanation for why the tracking site wasn’t working during the race. “Unfortunately, at dawn in Spain, 3 hours before the race, a drunk driver crashed into the starting arc and destroyed the timing mats. This has ruined our tracking app, which we were unable to recover in race time. We regret the delay in facilitating the follow-up.”

Gidey holds the 15k world record of 44:20 and it was considered one of the greatest world records ever.

Gidey making history

If it weren’t for the fact that the scoring tables were written before the super shoes were invented, Gidey’s mark would almost have to be regarded as the greatest performance in the history of the sport.

Gidey’s 70-second obliteration of the world record was the biggest drop in the women’s half marathon since 1978 when the half marathon world record was over 1:15 (half marathon WR progression).

Behind Gidey, previous world record holder Yalemzerf Yehualaw of Ethiopia, 22, showed that she really was capable of breaking 64 in Northern Ireland as she ran the second-fastest time in history at 63:51.

Top Women’s Results
1) Letesenbet Gidey 62:52
2) Yalemzerf Yehualaw 63:51
3) Sheila Chepkirui 64:54
4) Brenda Jepleting 65:44
5) Bosena Mulata 66:00

In the men’s race, 2021 world leader Abel Kipchumba (58:48 sb) outkicked pre-race favorite Rhonex Kipruto, the third-fastest man in history, to win in a world-leading 58:07 as seven men broke 59 and 10 men broke 60. Kenyans took the top 5 men’s places. 2017 and 2019 world 5000 champ Muktar Edris of Ethiopia was sixth in a new pb of 58:40. American Frank Lara came up short of his American record quest but ran 60:58 to move into a tie for ninth on the all-time US list.

(Analysis by Jonathan Gault: LRC Making Sense of Letesenbet Gidey’s INCREDIBLE 62:52 Half Marathon World Record in Valencia Jonathan Gault tries to put Letesenbet Gidey’s amazing WR in perspective for you. Is she the greatest women’s distance talent ever? Or was it the shoes? Or something more sinister?)

Detailed results via Alberto Stretti

Talk about the race on our world-famous fan forum / messageboard.

Watch the women’s finish (plus you can rewind and watch the full race below).

Men’s Finish

More: Analysis by Jonathan Gault: Making Sense of Letesenbet Gidey’s INCREDIBLE 62:52 Half Marathon World Record in ValenciaJonathan Gault tries to put Letesenbet Gidey’s amazing WR in perspective for you. Is she the greatest women’s distance talent ever? Or was it the shoes? Or something more sinister?

Previous: 2019 LRC WTW: Did Letesenbet Gidey Just Run the Greatest World Record and We Didn’t Even Notice? Plus Vaporfly’s at NCAA Regionals
*MB: Letesenbet Gidey runs 44:20 15k, SMASHES WR. Equivalent to a 13:42 5000!

Gidey is part of the NN Running Team and they sent over a bunch of photos of her in Valencia. Enjoy.

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