RAS AL KHAIMAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Ababel Yeshaneh set a world record in the women’s half marathon on Friday in the latest breakthrough by athletes wearing high-tech Nike shoes.
The Ethiopian runner won the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in 1 hour, 4 minutes, 31 seconds, knocking 20 seconds off the previous record set by Joyciline Jepkosgei in Valencia in 2017.
“I didn’t imagine this result,” Yeshaneh said.
Brigid Kosgei, the marathon world record holder, also broke Jepkosgei’s time while finishing second behind Yeshaneh.
Since 2018, the men’s and women’s records in both the marathon and half marathon have all been broken by athletes in Nike shoes. The Vaporfly range uses thick foam soles and a carbon plate to allow athletes to use their energy more efficiently.
The shoes have prompted concerns that athletes sponsored by other companies have no chance of competing in key races, such as the upcoming Olympics.
World Athletics cleared athletes to keep using Nike Vaporfly-style shoes last month, even though it warned that rapid advances in shoe technology threaten “the integrity of the sport.” The shoes meet new World Athletics rules on sole thickness and a requirement to be available for any athlete to buy.
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