Purity Komen was the surprise winner of the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon. Overtaking fellow-Kenyan and race favourite Ruth Chepngetich the 24 year-old stormed to her biggest career win with a personal best of 66:30. Course record holder Chepngetich followed in second with 67:18 while Evaline Chirchir made it an all-Kenyan podium with 67:31. Stella Rutto of Romania was the fastest European, finishing 10th with 70:05.

 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 60:03 for third. Britain’s Marc Scott was the best European runner in 63:17 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. The N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon is a Gold Label Road Race of World Athletics. „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 5th November,“ said Race Director Reynar Onur.


The women’s race began as expected. Ruth Chepngetich sped away from the field right after the start and was so quick that even the TV cameras missed her on a few occasions early on. Passing the 5k mark in 15:16 the Kenyan was almost on course for breaking her Kenyan record and her Istanbul course record of 64:02, 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 four kilometers 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 a few minutes later. Then it was  Komen, who had only been number nine with a PB of 67:08 on the final start list, who moved ahead before the 15k mark. Chepngetich tried to follow her in a bid to make it six wins from six races in Istanbul, but today she was unable to do so. Purity Komen won the race with 66:30 and became the first woman to beat Ruth Chepngetich on the historic roads of Istanbul. 


“My body did not respond after the early part of the race. I don’t know why, but I assume that may be 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. “This victory was unexpected. I was surprised when I suddenly saw Ruth in front of me and was then able to pass her,“ said Purity Komen. “I had hoped to achieve a 65 minutes’ time, but it was too windy today. I now 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 considerable once the leading group hit the wind. A group of around ten athletes passed the 10k mark in 28:22, which is sub 60 minutes’ pace. Two athletes were pushing the pace at the front: Kenya’s Daniel Ebenyo and Hicham Amghar of Morocco, who have PBs of 59:04 and 59:53 respectively. Soon after the 15k point (42:33) Ebenyo took the lead, covering the 16th kilometre in 2:46. Only Amghar was able to follow him, but when Ebenyo indicated to him to help pushing the pace the Moroccan stayed right behind him. Ebenyo then kept pressing ahead and opened up a decisive gap with around 4k to go. 


“I hoped to catch Daniel but I am happy with my result. I was going for a PB, but it was not possible in the wind,“ said Hicham Amghar, while Daniel Ebenyo was happy about his first major half marathon victory. “I am excited to have won this race. My aim was to run 59:00 minutes but it was too windy for that,“ said the Kenyan. “I will probably run my marathon debut next year. May be I come back to Istanbul for that.“


Results, Men:

1. Daniel Ebenyo KEN 59:52

2. Hicham Amghar MOR 59:58

3. Haftu Teklu ETH 60:03

4. Charles Langat KEN 60:07

5. Vincent Kipkemoi KEN 60:09

6. Boniface Kibiwott KEN 60:23

7. Benard Biwott KEN 60:47

8. Ashenafi Kiros ETH 61:21

9. Alfred Ngeno KEN 62:24

10. Alene Mekonen ETH 62:32



1. Purity Komen KEN 66:30

2. Ruth Chepngetich KEN 67:18

3. Evaline Chirchir KEN 67:31

4. Bosena Mulatie ETH 67:43

5. Tigist Gezahagn ETH 68:49

6. Betelihem Afenigus ETH 69:04

7. Beatrice Cheserek KEN 69:14

8. Bekelech Gudeta ETH 69:35

9. Shamilah Kipsiror KEN 69:38

10. Stella Rutto ROM 70:05


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