Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir has set a new women-only world record over half marathon in Prague ©Getty Images

Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir has broken the women-only race world record for the half marathon in Prague today by over half a minute.

The 26-year-old clocked a time of 1 hour 05min 34sec at the Prague 21.1KM, smashing the previous record of 1:06:11 set by Netsanet Gudeta of Ethiopia at the World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia in 2018.

In a small field on nine - of which two were pacemakers - competed over the 16.5-lap course in Prague's Letna Park, built on a plateau above steep embankments along the Vltava River in the Czech Republic capital. 

Despite the pacemakers, Kenyan team-mates Brenda Jepleting and Lilian Jepkorir Chebii, setting out a strong pace in the first five kilometres - running 15min 20sec  for the first five kilometres - Jepchirchir soon broke away just 20 minutes into the race.

Jepchirchir, winner of the World Half Marathon Championships gold medal at Cardiff in 2016, then reached the 10km in a split of 30:22 - running at 1:04 pace for the full distance, but her pace slowed in her solo effort.

Yet, she still maintained a strong effort to knock off the previous record.

"I was thinking to run maybe 1:04:50, but I'm so happy," said Jepchirchir.

"The last five kilometres I was really tired.

"My plan was to run good because I was well prepared."

Jepchirchir had previously held the half marathon world record in a mixed-gender race at the RAK Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates in 2017 when she clocked 1:05:06 - a record which stood for just under two months.

Now, the mixed-gender women's half marathon world record is held by Ethiopia's Ababel Yeshaneh with a new best of 1:04:31 in February 2020, also set at the RAK Half Marathon. 

Meanwhile in the men's race, Kenya's 24-year-old Kibiwott Kandie clocked a world-leading time of 58:38 to become the sixth fastest man of all time over the distance.