Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field

Yeshaneh sets world record in half marathon in controversial Nike shoes

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.

Vaporfly range uses thick foam soles, carbon plate to allow athletes to use their energy more efficiently

Ababel Yeshaneh crosses the finish line of RAK Half Marathon and breaks the half marathon world record on Friday in United Arab emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. (Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images)

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 the United Arab Emirates in one hour, four 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.

WATCH | Vaporfly may give runners too much of a performance boost:

The performance boost marathon runners get from a Nike Vaporfly shoe may be too much, some sports regulators say, and the shoes could be banned from being worn in competition — including the upcoming summer Olympics. 1:59

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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