The IAAF Gold labeled Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon’s popularity continues to grow on the broad scale with full entry capacity of 12,500 participants reached last December. This year it also introduces the world premiere of RunCzech Racing.
The elite field of the race has historically been strong. The women’s field this year is exceptional with eight runners having personal bests under 70 minutes. The returning champion is Joyce Chepkirui whose time last year was 67:03. 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 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 aiming high. “My aim is to run sub 66 minutes,” she announced during the press conference in Prague. 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 Kiplagat, the world record holder, told me: Maybe you will break my record!”
The men’s race also has high quality with eight runners who have personal bests of sub 61 minutes with four of them 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.
But this event is not only about chasing the time but also about the emerging of young promising athletes who one day might take a place on the podium. Carlo Capalbo, the President of the organising team of the RunCzech events, introduced a new initiative, RunCzech Racing, during Friday’s press conference: ”Just as is the case for all our other activities over the past twenty years, we want to bring together runners of all levels”, said Capalbo.
The deeper mission of RunCzech Racing is to connect people through sport. The structure of the programme promotes international cooperation through athletics and opens doors to young and developing road racers from all over the world. While it may be the skills of these top level athletes that brings RunCzech Racing to the start lines of the most prestigious races in the world, it is their involvement with the local communities that really unites cultures. Another goal of RunCzech Racing is to strengthen the relationship between the professional and recreational runners through workshops, social events, clinics and training at the Running Mall in the Czech capital.
The first RunCzech Racing members Nicholas Bor, Benson Motto, Million Feyssa and Abebu Gelan will appear on the start line of the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon in sporting blue vests – the official RunCzech Racing uniform.
Live Coverage on Saturday, 5 April
The race starts at 12:00 Central European Time.
The live TV feed will be open for international broadcasters.
Internet live stream of the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon with Twitter commentary in English will be available under the following link: http://public.pim.cz/RunCzech/live/live_en.html
|Evans Kiplagat Barkowet||KEN||59:56|
|Waganes h Mekasha||ETH||68:48|