Kenyans line up for new ‘Battle of Teams’ race in Czech Republic

Former Tokyo Marathon champion Hela Kiprop stretches at her home in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County on May 29, 2021. She will compete in the Eldoret City Marathon on June 6.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Prague Marathon which is traditionally held on this date was postponed due to the global logistical problems brought about by coronavirus pandemic
  • The “Battle of Teams” is an experimental race in which organisers will be introducing team competition instead of individual racing as is the norm in marathon races
  • Kenyan athletes including former Tokyo Marathon champion Dickson Chumba, Abel Kipchumba, Nobert Kigen, Samuel Wanjiru and Benson Kipruto are enlisted in the men’s race

The “Battle of the Teams”, organised by RunCzech, will be held Sunday in the Czech Republic in place of Prague Marathon.  

Prague Marathon which is traditionally held on this date was postponed due to the global logistical problems brought about by coronavirus pandemic.

The “Battle of Teams” is an experimental race in which organisers will be introducing team competition instead of individual racing as is the norm in marathon races.

The competitors will be grouped in teams of eight participants. The four teams have been sponsored by Volkswagen, Team Mattoni, Team CEZ Group and Team Birell for the race.

Kenyan athletes including former Tokyo Marathon champion Dickson Chumba, Abel Kipchumba, Nobert Kigen, Samuel Wanjiru and Benson Kipruto are enlisted in the men’s race.

In the women’s category, Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Aiyabei, Purity Rionoripo, Diana Kipyokei and Betty Lempus, among others, will be on parade.

The team with the highest combined score will take home $32,000 (about Sh3,444,800) first-place prize and there will also be $48,000 (Sh5,167,200) in individual prize money. Six athletes out of the team of eight will score.

Aiyabei said that it is a new thing in marathon but she hopes for the best. She said that have to make full use of team work to excel because they'll be no pacemakers.

“It’s something new but we are all running and the only thing that will help us is to run well as a team as we set our eyes on the prize,” said the athletes who will be running under Team Mattoni.

Before the race, each team will nominate three men and three women to score points, with the remaining two runners serving as reserves (they will still run the race and their scores will be counted should one of the other runners fail to finish).

Each athlete’s time is converted into a point total based on World Athletics’ scoring tables, with an athlete receiving a 10 percent bonus if they run a personal best.

Additional reporting by Letsrun.com

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