IAAF President Lamine Diack was recently quoted in Distance Running magazine “Last year road running was in the spotlight more than ever, with Wilson Kipsang’s Marathon world record of 2:03:23 – the only senior world record in outdoor athletics during 2013 – and Edna Kiplagat’s commanding defense of her World Marathon title. We can now look forward to 2014 full of optimism and excitement…”. We have already had a taste of that predicted excitement with the recent victories in the Virgin Money London Marathon by the very same Wilson Kipsang in a course record 2:04:29 and Edna Kiplagat in 2:20:21.
And now, perhaps a drum roll or a trumpet fanfare would be appropriate because Wilson Kipsang and Edna Kiplagat have both committed to run in the Czech Republic at the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon (21 June), one of the RunCzech Running League races. A marathon world record holder, a multiple marathon world champion, two Virgin Money London Marathon champions, and a London course record holder will all run in the city of Olomouc on June 21st at 7:00 P.M. All of these personas are encapsulated in Kipsang and Kiplagat.
With their wins in the Virgin Money London Marathon both Wilson and Edna strengthen claims to being the top marathoners in the world. Wilson defeated an Olympic and world champion, a course record holder, a defending champion, and a man who ran the fastest marathon ever (in Boston on a course that is not record eligible). He ran his fifth sub 2:05 race with two of those including his world record being under 2:04. In 2013 Edna became the first woman to retain the marathon world title she first earned in 2011 when she earned the first gold medal on the opening day of the World Athletics Championships. With her victory in London over the world record holders of the 5000m, 10,000m, and the half marathon she cemented her claim to marathon supremacy.
The Chairman of the IAAF Road running Commission, David Bedford who is also the former Race Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon and still involved in recruiting the elite athletes for the race stated "We are pleased that our champions will run in Olomouc. We know our friends on the RunCzech Team will treat them well and they will have a chance to run in a professionally organized, top quality half marathon with strong competition and the famous RunCzech hospitality and community support. "
Now these two great champions will attempt to put their stamp on the half marathon distance in Olomouc. Olomouc is a small city of just over 110,000 residents in Moravia in the eastern part of the Czech Republic and its half marathon has become very popular locally and an important part of the successful international RunCzech series of seven races. “The world is used to seeing athletes of this caliber only in well-known big city events like those in London or New York, but we are showing that a small city with a commitment to quality and a beautiful setting can compete with those cities. We are also demonstrating with the RunCzech Running League that not just Prague but the entire Czech Republic can be a welcoming and attractive place for all runners whether world record holders or recreational tourists.”, says Carlo Capalbo, the President of the Organising Committee. The Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label road race and it has grown steadily in size and prestige over the past four years. This fifth anniversary race is sure to increase the prestige to a world class level in a beautiful and historic city that has made the event a celebration of sport and community.
The full elite athlete start list will be announced at a later date when it is finalized, but it will feature athletes with the half marathon credentials to challenge the obvious favorites. Further information on Olomouc and all of the RunCzech races including the 20th Volkswagen Prague Marathon on May 11, 2014 can be found at www.RunCzech.com.