Record holders Kipsang, Kiplagat set for Czech Half Marathon

PHOTO | LEON NEAL Wilson Kipsang of Kenya celebrates after crossing the line to win the men's race in the 2014 London Marathon on The Mall in central London on April 13, 2014. Elgeyo Marakwet is commonly referred to as a county of champions.

What you need to know:

  • Favoutite to win women’s race of the IAAF Silver Label Road Race, is two times world champion Edna Kiplagat.
  • The Boston Marathon in April was Kimetto’s most recent race and he failed to finish, but his credentials – which include a 25km world record and a half-marathon PB of 59:14 – are hard to ignore.

World Marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang, who is also the London Marathon champion, and 2013 Chicago Dennis Kimetto champion are set to clash at the Mattoni Half Marathon Olomouc on Saturday in Czech Republic.

Favoutite to win women’s race of the IAAF Silver Label Road Race, is two times world champion Edna Kiplagat.

Kipsang regained his London Marathon title earlier this year after breaking the course record with his world-leading 2:04:29. In his only race since then, the Great Manchester 10km, he was defeated by multiple world record-holder Kenenisa Bekele, but Kipsang will be more at home with the longer 13.1 mile distance in Olomouc as he contests his first ever race in the Czech Republic.

The Olympic bronze medallist won the Granollers Half Marathon earlier this year and his PB of 58:59, set in 2009, makes him the fastest man in the field.

STIFF CHALLENGE

But he will have to contend with another big city marathon winner and world record-holder. Fellow Kenyan Kimetto last year won the Tokyo and Chicago marathons. In the latter, he clocked a course record of 2:03:45, just 22 seconds shy of Kipsang’s world record.

The Boston Marathon in April was Kimetto’s most recent race and he failed to finish, but his credentials – which include a 25km world record and a half-marathon PB of 59:14 – are hard to ignore.

Nicholas Bor is no stranger to the Czech Republic and has finished in the top eight in three other races in the country. The Kenyan has this year set PBs in both the 10km (28:18) and half marathon (1:01:25) and will be aiming for a top-three finish in Olomouc.

Edna Kiplagat is undoubtedly the headline act in the women’s race, but her opponents will be encouraged by the fact that the Kenyan was beaten in her most recent race – which was also over the half-marathon distance.

Earlier this year, Kiplagat finally won the London Marathon after finishing second for three years in succession. But one month later, the relatively unheralded Visiline Jepkesho defeated her at the Gifu-Seiryu Half Marathon as Kiplagat clocked 1:11:18.

In Olomouc, Kiplagat will be aiming to be closer to her lifetime best of 1:07:41, but there’s a host of up-and-coming runners ready to take her on.

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