Joyce Chepkirui says she’s in the kind of form to run the best race of her career at Saturday’s Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon. The Kenyan, who is a training partner of world half marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat, targets a time well under the course record of 66:48, set by the World 10,000 m silver medallist Gladys Cherono last year.
But the competition will be tough, including the World Cross Country Champion Emily Chebet. The men’s race also has high qualitz with eight runners who have personal bests of sub 61 minutes.
The Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race. Its popularity continues to grow on the broad scale with full entry capacity of 12,500 reached last December.
A year ago Joyce Chepkirui was unlucky when she suffered of an Achilles tedon problem during her marathon debut in London. She still managed to finish, but 2:35:54 and 15th place was obviously not what she had hoped for. There are no problems before Saturday’s race and Chepkirui has in the meantime produced a stunning performance when she concentrated on shorter distances.
In Berlin’s 10 k race Asics Grand 10 the 25 year-old won with 30:37 minutes last October. This puts her in sixth position in the world alltime list, only 16 seconds away from the world record. And it suggests she should be able to well improve her personal best of 67:03. When she goes to the start line on Saturday Chepkirui hopes to produce a similar performance to that of Berlin.
“I’m in the same kind of shape I was before Berlin,” said the Kenyan, who revealed that one of her training partners in the high altitude training camp in Iten is Florence Kiplagat. The Kenyan sensationally broke the half marathon world record seven weeks ago when she ran 65:12 in Barcelona.
The current course record of the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon stands at 66:48. It was Kenya’s newly crowned World Half Marathon Champion Gladys Cherono who ran this time a year ago. Chepkirui is definitely going for this and aiming high.
“My aim is to run sub 66 minutes,” she announced during the press conference in the aptly named Cloud Bar of Prague’s Hilton Hotel, overlooking the city. Does she even expect to come close to the world record? “I know the time of the record,” she replied, but also added: “When I left Kenya yesterday Florence told me: May be you will break my record!”
The women’s field of the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon is exceptionally strong. Seven more runners have personal bests of sub 70 minutes. Chepkirui’s strongest rivals could be fellow Kenyan Emily Chebet, who has run 68:20, and Firehiwot Dado. The Ethiopian clocked her PB of 68:35 when she won the New York Half Marathon two years ago.
The men’s race also looks very open. Four runners are entered with personal bests under the hour. Ethiopia’s Hunegnaw Mesfin and Kenya’s Peter Kirui each have the same PB of 59:39 while Philemon Limo (Kenya) has gone a fraction faster with 59:30.
Another Kenyan, Evans Barkowet Kiplagat, has a best of 59:56. However Ethiopia’s course record holder Atsedu Tsegay, who has run 58:47 to set the national record in Prague in 2012, has had to withdraw because of typhoid infection.
Two other Kenyans featuring in Saturday’s race have gone tantalisingly close to the one hour mark and could hope to dip under 60 minutes in Prague: Henry Kiplagat has run 60:01 and Nicholas Kipkemboi’s PB is 60:15.
Live Coverage on Saturday
A live stream of the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon will be available on Saturday under the following link: http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/ivysilani/10183677624-beh/214471291014001-bezecky-serial/
While commentary will be in Czech there will be a live Twitter service with updates on the elite races in English on the Run Czech website at: www.runczech.com The race starts at 1200 Central European Time.
Run Czech Racing: A new initiative from Prague
Organisers in Prague began a new initiative this year: Carlo Capalbo, the President of the organising team of the Run Czech events, introduced Run Czech Racing during today’s press conference. The team features a group of up to 15 international athletes.
Wherever they compete around the world they will represent Run Czech Racing. Additionally these runners have a special connection to the events staged by Run Czech and will be present in Prague at certain times of the season. “They can stay here and we want them to connect with our runners,” said Capalbo, who hopes that in the future Czech elite runners could benefit from this as well.
Main contenders of the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon
Philemon Limo KEN 59:30
Hunegnaw Mesfin ETH 59:39
Peter Kirui KEN 59:39
Evans Kiplagat Barkowet KEN 59:56
Henry Kiplagat KEN 60:01
Nicholas Kipkemboi KEN 60:15
Cuthbert Nyasango ZIM 60:26
Abere Kassw ETH 60:58
Dawit Weldesilasie ERI 61:07
Daniel Wanjiru KEN 61:10
Gladwin Mzazi RSA 61:12
Mosinet Geremew ERI Debut
Joyce Chepkirui KEN 67:03
Abebu Gelan ETH 67:57
Wude Ayalew ETH 67:58
Genet Getaneh ETH 68:18
Emily Chebet KEN 68:20
Firehiwot Dado ETH 68:35
Waganesh Mekasha ETH 68:48
Malika Asahssah MAR 69:11
Azusa Nojiri JPN 70:53
Esther Chemtai KEN Debu
To send email correction or further classifications, please shoot us an email at lcummings [at] world-track.org.
It was a year ago when the Vienna City Marathon was simply “Su gut!”. Henry Sugut clocked an Austrian allcomers record of 2:06:58 to win the race.
The race starts at on Sunday (local time) and will be shown live streaming on the internet at www.vienna-marathon.com
Asked if the marathon had been a success the answer in Austrian dialect was simply: “Su gut!”, meaning “So good!”. When the 30th edition of the nation’s biggest and best quality road race will take place this Sunday it could even be better. Kenya’s defending champion will return to the Vienna City Marathon.
In total ten runners are on the start list with personal bests of sub 2:10. Among them is Jafred Kipchumba (Kenya). With a PB of 2:05:48 he is the fastest runner ever entered into the Vienna City Marathon. The women’s field looks strong as well.
Half a dozen runners have achieved times of sub 2:28 so far. Adding other events – among them a half marathon with Ethiopia’s superstar Haile Gebrselassie – a record total of 40,957 runners have entered the Vienna City Marathon, which is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
“When I come back to Vienna it gives me a good feeling. I feel confident, because I have won here twice. I know the race well,” said Henry Sugut in Friday’s press conference.
The 27 year-old first took the Vienna City Marathon in 2010 with 2:08:40. His second marathon in 2012 did not go as well. In Amsterdam he clocked 2:09:07 for ninth place.
“The course was good in Amsterdam, but the problem was the wind,” said Henry Sugut. Regarding Sunday’s race, when the pacemakers are expected to pass the half way mark in around 63:30 minutes, he said:
“That pace is okay for me. I am in good form. I have not raced since Amsterdam. Instead I fully concentrated on Vienna.”
One of Henry Sugut’s training partners, Gilbert Yegon, is also expected to do well on Sunday. “It is always a good feeling if you are running in the leading group and you see a training partner in there as well,” said the defending champion Sugut.
However this is also a revenge for 2012. A year ago Gilbert Yegon was second in Vienna behind Sugut with 2:07:38.
This is the joint second fastest time ever run in the history of the race. But Gilbert Yegon had been faster before. Running his debut marathon in Amsterdam in 2009 he won with 2:06:18. “After that I had problems with my hamstring for a long time. But now it is fine. So on Sunday I hope for a personal best in Vienna,” said the 24 year-old Kenyan.
Jafred Kipchumba has good memories of Vienna as well. It was back in 2009 when he had participated in a unique debutants only race in the Austrian capital. In his marathon debut he achieved 2:10:42 for sixth place.
“The Vienna Marathon changed my life, because I was earning much more prize money from then on. For example I was able to build a house in Kenya,” said Jafred Kipchumba, who won the Milan Marathon in 2010 (2:09:15), improved to 2:08:10 for second place in Toronto in 2010 and then made a major step by taking the Eindhoven Marathon in 2011 with 2:05:48.
“After Eindhoven I had an injury. This is the reason why I did not compete last year. But now I am in good shape and I have concentrated fully on the Vienna City Marathon. So I did not run any other races recently,” said Jafred Kipchumba.
The women’s field looks stronger than in recent years as well with a handful of athletes featuring personal bests of sub 2:27. Ethiopia’s Kebebush Haile is the fastest in the field with a personal best of 2:24:09. She ran this time in 2011 when she won the Shanghai Marathon. A disappointing performance in Duesseldorf a year ago, where she finished fifth with 2:29:02 came because of an injury. “I had a hip problem so I did not run after Duesseldorf,” said Kebebush Haile.
On Sunday she hopes to improve to a time of sub 2:24. “With such a performance I hope to have a chance for selection for the World Championships in Moscow. Of course I will have to wait and see what my fellow Ethiopians will run in London next week,” the 27 year-old said. But she will also have strong challengers from Ethiopia on Sunday in Vienna. Among them is Assefa Meskerem, who ran a fine debut in Houston earlier this year with 2:25:17. May be on Sunday the 13 year-old course record from Maura Viceconte (Italy/2:23:47) will finally be broken.
Elite fields of the Vienna City Marathon
To send email correction or further classifications, please shoot us an email at lcummings [at] world-track.org.
He once dreamt of riding the Tour de France but ended up a road running tour de force. Zersenay Tadese succeeded today where the great Haile Gebrselassie failed and where that other legendary Ethiopian, Kenenisa Bekele, has yet to tread.
Tadese’s victory in the IAAF/EDF Energy World Half Marathon Championships completed a marvellous year for Tadese. Three World Championship medals in one year on three different surfaces is a feat performed previously by only one athlete, Kenya’s Paul Tergat in 1999.
Gebrselassie, World Half Marathon champion in 2001 and four-time World 10,000m champion on the track, gave up trying in cross country after four failed attempts at an individual medal. Bekele, winner of 11 senior World Cross Country titles and four at 10,000m, has yet to make his debut at the half marathon distance and test himself in a world road running championship…..Read More
Mary Keitany, the 2007 silver medallist, moved up to the top rung of the podium this year with a dominant run that took the gold at today’s IAAF / EDF Energy World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham, leading home a Kenyan team triumph in race run in light drizzle and a temperature of 11C.
Keitany, already the fastest half marathoner in the world this year (1:07:00) a full 50 seconds quicker than any of her opponents entered for Birmingham, made her strength tell breaking away from her one persistent opponent, Ethiopia’s Aberu Kebebe between the ninth and tenth kilometre, to score a resounding victory in 1:06:36, the fastest time of her career.
Only the World record run by Lornah Kiplagat in the 2007 edition in Udine, Italy (1:06:25) is faster in the history of these World Half Marathon Championships (NB. 2006 and 2007, this competition was renamed the World Road Running Championships). Keitany had been silver medallist on that occasion in her previous best of 1:06:48….Read More