Celestine Chepchirchir from Kenya won the Women's 2019 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon through Cape Town. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Kenyan Celestine Chepchirchir smashed the course record of Namibian Helalia Johannes, clocking 2:26.44 to win the women’s race at the Cape Town Marathon on Sunday.

That is just under three minutes faster than the record set in 2018 (2:29.28). Nurit Shimels Yimam (ETH) was second (2:27.40), Gete Mindaye Tilahun (ETH) came home in third (2:28.32). All three were inside the previous course record.

Cornelia Joubert came 12th overall in a time of 2:43:21 to claim the SA Marathon title.

It was arguably the strongest women’s field yet assembled at the Cape Town Marathon and it showed. With six sub 2:30 athletes in the field, it was hardly surprising that the women’s field delivered. 

From the gun a group of nine athletes set a blistering pace, going through the 10km mark in 34:02, led by Kenya’s Janet Jelagat Rono.

Halfway came and went in 72:04 driven by Yimam. The group was on a 2:24/2:25 finish. Gradually the high intensity started to whittle down the leading women until there were only three left to battle it out after 35km. By 40km, Chepchirchir had taken control of the race, with a 28 second lead over Nurit Yimam who had 16 seconds on Gete Tilahun.  

Chepchirchir held on to win, clocking 2:26.44 to lead the top three inside the course record of 2:29.28. Yimam finished second (2:27.40) with Tilahun rounding out the podium (2:28.32). By breaking the course record, Chepchirchir added a R100 000 incentive bonus to the first prize of R265 000. 

African News Agency (ANA)