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Posted: October 23, 2021:  

(RRW) Athletics: Pending Half-Marathon World Record By Yalemzerf Yehualaw Will Not Be Ratified

From David Monti, @d9monti
© 2021 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved.

(23-Oct) -- Ethiopia's Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who ran a pending World Athletics half-marathon record of 1:03:44 at the Antrim Coast Half-Marathon in Larne, Northern Ireland, on August 29, will not have that mark ratified. Race organizers announced yesterday that the course was short by 54 meters, just 0.256% of the race distance.

,font color=gray>PHOTO: Yalemzerf Yehualaw in her promotional photo for the NN Running Team

"Antrim Coast Half-Marathon followed every protocol in getting the course officially measured prior to the event by a certified Association of UK Course Measurers, World Athletics and Association of International Marathons & Distance Races member," read a statement on the event's website. "We appreciate this news is very disappointing but promise to be back in 2022 faster and stronger and hope to be in the position of measuring world records before not too long."

A spokesperson for World Athletics, Nicole Jeffrey, confirmed that the record could not be ratified but declined to provide a reason at this time. Indeed, Yehualaw's mark is no longer listed as a pending record on the global governing body for athletics' website and her mark has been assigned zero World Athletics ranking points. The ratified record remains 1:04:31 by another Ethiopian, Ababel Yeshaneh, set at Ras Al Khaimah on February 21, 2020. A faster mark, 1:04:02 by Kenya's Ruth Chepngetich, is listed as the pending record. Chepngetich, who recently won the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, ran that time in Istanbul on April 4, 2021. It is not clear why that mark has yet to be ratified.

"Our process is to list unratified records, with the reason, in our monthly newsletter to stakeholders," Ms. Jeffrey wrote in an e-mail to Race Results Weekly. "The next one is due to be issued at the end of next week."

A 54-meter shortfall in a race which is 21,097.5 meters in length is a very small amount. It's the same as a standard 100-yard American football field being 9 inches too short, or a 400-meter track being 1-meter short. Assuming Yehualaw was able to continue at the same average pace for 54 additional meters she would only have needed 10 seconds to cover the additional distance and her finish time would be 1:03:54, still well under both the existing and pending records.

Yalemzerf, who represents Nike and the NN Running Team, is in Valencia today and will run the Medio Maratón Valencia Trinidad Alfonso EDP tomorrow where she can make another attempt at the record.

"I always focus on what I can influence and further I accept what comes my way," she said through a statement put out by NN Running Team officials. "The good news is that I'm in Valencia now with a great organisation and looking forward to show my strength again on the roads this Sunday!"

Of course, Yehualaw was not the only athlete affected by the short course. Every other elite runner who competed will not receive any World Athletics Rankings points for their performance, and marks were not eligible for national records or personal bests.

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