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Peres Jepchirchir: Rise of the Women’s Only World Record Holder

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Peres Jepchirchir is the world record holder for a women-only world record, a feat she achieved at the 2024 London Marathon, after crossing the line in 2:16:16. She’s also an Olympic gold medalist and the winner of three major marathon races. She’s at the peak of her career, which has ascended in a short period. Find out more about her below.

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Peres Jepchirchir’s Early Life

Peres Jepchirchir: Rise of the Women’s Only World Record Holder
Peres Jepchirchir at the 2024 TCS London Marathon – Elite women race. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-4.0

Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir’s story is similar to that of other Kenyan athletes. Growing up in Western Kenya, she ran to and fro school, covering about three to five kilometers. The achievements of four-time TCS New York City Marathon and a three-time London marathon winner Mary Keitany inspired her to pursue the marathon.

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Competing in Short Races 

Peres Jepchirchir talking about her career. Video Credit: Cheche 254

In 2013, Jepchirchir began competing in road races. She finished third and won two races. After that, the athlete competed alongside Faith Kipyegon and came second behind her. Gianni Demadonna spotted her while racing and this was the gateway to her budding career.

Jepchirchir competed in several races in Europe, winning races in France. In 2015, Peres ran the London Marathon for the first time and failed to finish. Returning to short distances, the marathoner set records, starting with a course record in the Czech Republic. 

At the Ras Al Khaimah race in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jepchirchir broke the half marathon world record finishing in 1:05:06. Her cumulative performance earned her a place in Kenya’s team at the 2016 IAAF World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, United Kingdom. She led the Kenyan podium sweep with a time of 1:07:31.

Her accomplishments extended to the 2017 RAK Half Marathon, where she broke two world records, finishing in 65:06 minutes and 61:40 minutes at the 20 Km. She also won the Lisbon Half Marathon, 13 months after giving birth to her daughter Natalia. 

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The runner’s track record saw her chosen as one of Kenya’s runners at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Marathon. She crossed the line at 2:27:20 to win and bag the country’s second consecutive gold medal in Sapporo, Japan.

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Marathon Races

Peres Jechpirchir speaking after her London Marathon 2024 win. Video Credit: Athletics Weekly

After years of competing in half marathons and one full one, Jepchirchir transitioned to full marathons. She started on a high, winning the New York marathon in 2:22:39. After which, she admitted winning the race was a surprise. Her victory came 13 weeks after the Tokyo Olympics meaning she had little time to recover and prepare for the marathon.

The following year, Jepchirchir went back to the United States, this time at the Boston Marathon. She won the race at 2:21:01. Were it not for her injury, she would have raced at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

World Record

She was back on the roads in 2023 in London but could only finish third. They say the third time is a charm, which was the case for her as she won the London Marathon 2024, breaking the women’s only (run without pace makers) world marathon record in 2:16:16.

It was a star-studded field with the likes of Tigst Assefa and Joyciline Jepkosgei. She broke Keitany’s record of 2:17:01 set in 2017. 

Peres Jepchirchir is part of the Kenyan team heading to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, where she’s hoping to defend her title. She’s one of the most exciting runners and will hold the country’s torch for years.  

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