Ethiopia's Yehualaw smashes women's half marathon record

London (AFP) –


Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw set a new world record for the women’s half marathon of one hour three minutes and 44 seconds in Larne, Northern Ireland on Sunday, taking 18 seconds off the previous record time.

Yehualaw becomes the first woman to break 64 minutes for the half marathon, with her mark improving on the time of one hour four minutes and two seconds set by Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich in Istanbul in April.

Yehualaw obliterated the field, winning by six minutes ahead of Kenya’s Vane Nyaboke.

“This was a dream come true for me," the 22-year-old Yehualaw told

"I have tried twice before to break the world record but it didn’t happen, but I’m so happy it happened today in Larne.”

The performance was even more impressive as Yehualaw finished fourth in the Ethiopian Trials 10,000 metres and did not make the team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

She also missed out on gold, finishing third at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia last October.

“At the World Half Marathon Championships I was trying to win gold but it didn’t happen,” Yehualaw added. “But today I’m so happy."