Antrim Coast Half Marathon: Yehualaw & Yimer earn repeat wins in UK all-comers marks

Yehualaw wins again at Antrim Coast Half Marathon
Yehualaw wins again at Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Ethiopians Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Jemal Yimer clinched repeat victories at the Antrim Coast Half Marathon in Larne as both set UK all-comers records.

Yehualaw, denied a women’s world record in last year’s race by a course measurement error, ran one hour four minutes 21 seconds for a dominant win.

She was close to Letesenbet Gidey’s world record pace early on but had to settle for a new UK all-comers mark.

Yimer was even more dominant in the men’s race as he won in 59:03.

The Ethiopian, 25, finished a minute and 56 seconds ahead of Kenya’s Alfred Ngeno and the winning time was seven seconds inside Geoffrey Kamworor’s UK all-comers record set in Cardiff in 2016.

Yehualaw’s performance was 91 seconds inside Edith Chelimo’s previous UK women’s all-comers mark.

Both winners were also well inside the previous Irish all-comers records set by Sir Mo Farah [60:27] and Lily Patridge [71:36] at the Larne race in 2020.

2021 course 54 metres short

After being denied the world record last year when the course was found to be 54 metres short, Yehualaw produced the second fastest women’s performance a few weeks later in Valencia, her time of 1:03:51 59 seconds slower than Gidey’s astonishing new mark in the same race.

Yehualaw was on world record pace early on in Sunday’s race as she went to 5km in 14:40 and was still only seven seconds outside Gidey’s 10km split as she reached that point in 29:52.

However with Yehualaw’s pacemaker unable to take her to the 15km mark as planned, she found herself alongside British Olympian Callum Hawkins, before losing momentum as the Scotsman broke away from her.

Yehualaw’s winning time left her 39 seconds ahead of compatriot Tsehay Gemechu with Kenya’s Beatrice Mutai a further two minutes and 37 seconds back in third spot.

Armagh woman Fionnuala Ross was the best of the local contingent in fourth pace as she took fourth in 73:59 with England’s Kate Drew fifth in 74:29.

Kenya’s Shadrack Kimining completed the men’s podium positions as he finished two minutes and four seconds adrift of winner Jimer.

Yimer’s compatriot Teshfahun Akalnew was fourth in 61:43 with British duo Marc Scott and Hawkins well down on their personal best times as they were fifth and seventh in 62:57 and 64:03 with former Omagh Harrier Matthew Neill the leading Irish finisher as he finished eighth in 64:36.

The event’s mass race in the event was starting in Larne at 11:00 BST with around 4,000 from 19 countries set to be involved.

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