Defending champion Daniel Chebii of Kenya, the fifth fastest man in 10K so far this year, will chase his third victory, while Kenya’s Violah Jepchumba holds the 2016 world leading time in 10K, aiming to win with a new race record at the 21st edition of the Birell Grand Prix.
The 2015 Birell Prague Grand Prix champion Daniel Chebii will defend his title against former marathon world record holder Patrick Makau and a slew of other talented athletes in Prague on September 10.
Chebii, and Makau are two of the five men in the field who have broken 28 minutes for 10K. The other three sub-28:00 men in the field are Kenyans Richard Mengich, Stephen Omiso, and Evans Kigen Kirui. Daniel Wanjiru has never broken 28:00, but he is no stranger to the streets of Prague. He has won the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon twice.
These 10K speedsters are joined by one of the fastest half marathoners in history. Only three men have ever run 13.1 miles faster than the 58:44 that Solomon Yego did in March in Rome. Yego’s time is the fastest in the world on a record-legal course since 2011.
Chebii, Makau, Mengich, Wanjiru, and Yego are five of the seven sub-one-hour half-marathoners in the field. Kenneth Keter and Geofrey Kusuro have both dipped under the venerated hour barrier. Keter famously did so this spring at the Venloop Half Marathon in the Netherlands, where he started as a pacemaker and then never dropped out.
They’ll be aiming for Geoffrey Ronoh’s course record of 27:28. If Chebii wins, it’ll be his third Prague Grand Prix title in the last four years.
Chebii isn’t just the defending Prague Grand Prix champ – he is also a former winner and race record holder (59:49) of RunCzech’s Mattoni České Budějovice Half Marathon In 2012.
Three men in the field are on the RunCzech Racing Team: Keter, Abraham Kipyatich, and the 18 year old Mathew Kimeli.
Seven men broke 28:00 in the 2015 Birell Grand Prix, led by Chebii’s 27:42. The race is one of just four IAAF Gold Label 10Ks in the world each year. Some of the requirements to be awarded a Gold Label are an international elite field, equal prize money for men and women, and robust drug testing.
Violah Jepchumba returns to the roads of the city where she became an all-timer. In April, the Kenyan won the Sportismo Prague Half Marathon in 1:05:51, making her the third fastest half marathoner ever. Carlo Capalbo, the President of the Organizing Committee of RunCzech races stated, “We are very pleased to be able to welcome Violah back to Prague, where she confirmed her arrival in April as one of the finest half-marathoners in history.” Jepchumba’s 10K best is actually also from that race, when she came through 10K in a blistering 30:29 – well ahead of world record pace. That time is 27 seconds faster than anyone else in the field has ever run for 10K. The second fastest women in the field is Gladys Cherono, who is also the fifth fastest half marathoner in history at 1:06:07.
Between Jepchumba, Cherono, and Paskalia Chepkorir Kipkoech – all three Kenyan women have broken 31 minutes—the course record of 30:55 seems in jeopardy. The world lead on the roads is also Jepchumba’s 30:29 from the Prague Half in April.
In addition to Jepchumba, Cherono, and Kipkoech, two other women in the field have broken 70 minutes in the half marathon: Joyciline Jepkosgei, and Ethiopian Muliye Dekebo.
Perhaps the Ethiopian, Dekebo, who is still a junior, has the best chance on the podium of non-Kenyan athletes.
Jepkosgei has the fourth fastest 10K time in the field, and she is the only woman other than the three favorites to have broken 32 minutes. She is the only women in the field who is representing the RunCzech Racing team. In her RunCzech debut, Jepkosgei won and broke the course record at the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon.
One of the best Czechs lining up on September 10 is Anežka Drahotová, who most recently finished 10th in the 20K race walk at the Olympics. Drahotová certainly has had the most diverse career in the field—in addition to race walking and road running, she has also competed internationally in road cycling and the 3000 meter steeplechase.
|KEN||Richard Kiprop MENGICH||27:48|
|KEN||Daniel Kinyua WANJIRU||28:05|
|KEN||Stephen Arita OMISO 27:||55.17|
|KEN||Evans Kigen KURUI||27:56|
|TAN||Gabriel Gerard GEAY||28:04|
|KEN||Emmanuuel Kiprono KIPSANG||28:06|
|KEN||Mathew Kipkorir KIMELI||28:19|
|KEN||Yego Solomon KIRWA||29:06|
|KEN||Amos Kibiwot KURGAT|
|KEN||Simon Kiruthi MUTHONI||29:52|
|KEN||Paskalia Chepkorir KIPKOECH||30:57|