Obiri, Kwemoi eye new PBs at Istanbul Half Marathon
What you need to know:
- Obiri, the World Cross Country and two-time World 5,000m champion, is the fastest in the women’s field that has six contestants, who have run under one hour and 07 minutes
- The two-time Olympic 5,000m silver medallist reckons that it wasn’t easy shifting gears to longer distance from track and 10km road races
- Kwemoi, who is the second fastest in the men’s field is also eying to improve on his personal best time of 58:30 set when he finished second at Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon this year
Kenyans Hellen Obiri and Rogers Kwemoi hope to improve their personal best when they come up against a rich field at Istanbul Half Marathon on Sunday in the Turkish capital.
Obiri, the World Cross Country and two-time World 5,000m champion, is the fastest in the women’s field that has six contestants, who have run under one hour and 07 minutes.
Even though it will be Obiri’s fourth half marathon race, she already has the fourth fastest time ever over the distance with her second placing with a time of 1:04:22 at Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon on February 19 this year.
It’s in Istanbul where the 32-year-old made her half marathon debut in April 4, last year where she finished third in 1:04:51, making her the fastest debutant in half marathon history.
The she would win Great North Run in Newcastle, England in 1:07:42 before her maiden appearance at RAK where she claimed her personal best 1:04:22.
“When I come to a race, I always give out my best. We have a strong field here but lowering my personal best will be good enough. In fact, I want to try and run sub 1:04, which will be a course record...nothing is impossible,” said Obiri, who hopes for good weather conditions and pace-making.
World marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich holds the course record time of 1:04:02 set when winning last year.
The two-time Olympic 5,000m silver medallist reckons that it wasn’t easy shifting gears to longer distance from track and 10km road races.
“I used to do a lot of lapping on track and that changed to 150km and 180km is less than a week after I moved to road racing,” said Obiri. “It was difficult but I have managed to adjust with time.”
Obiri faces stiff challenge from compatriot Vicoty Chepng’eno and a horde of Ethiopian athletes.
Chepng’eno has won 11 of her past 12 half marathons with her recent being in Houston earlier this year in personal best 1:05:03.
Copenhagen Half Marathon champion Tsehay Gemechu from Ethiopian, who has personal best 1:05:08 is another athlete Obiri should watch out for alongside Nigsti Haftu (1:06:17) also from Ethiopia.
Haftu recently won the Paris Half Marathon and compatriot Bekelech Gudeta, who finished eighth at the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships, will also be in contention. Gudeta set a PB of 1:06:54 in Istanbul last year.
Kwemoi, who is the second fastest in the men’s field is also eying to improve on his personal best time of 58:30 set when he finished second at Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon this year.
“I am now in better form than I was in Ras Al Khaimah,” said Kwemoi, who will face among others training mate Daniel Mateiko, who is the best in the field with a time of 58:26.
Two other runners in the field have sub-60-minute PBs: Kenyans Josphat Tanui (59:22) and Edmond Kipngetich (59:41).
1. Daniel Mateiko KEN 58:26
2. Rodgers Kwemoi KEN 58:30
3. Solomon Berihu ETH 59:17
4. Josphat Tanui KEN 59:22
5. Huseyidid Esa ETH 59:32
6. Edmond Kipngetich KEN 59:41
7. Hillary Kipchumba KEN 60:01
8. Vestus Chemjor KEN 60:47
9. Aras Kaya TUR 61:51
10. Moses Too KEN 60:56
11. Philimon Kiptoo KEN 61:47
12. Daniel Kiprotich KEN 62:09
13. Gerald Vincent KEN 62:27
14. Ramazan Özdemir TUR 63:10
1. Hellen Obiri KEN 64:22
2. Vicoty Chepngeno KEN 65:03
3. Tsehay Gemechu ETH 65:08
4. Nigsti Haftu ETH 66:17
5. Yasemin Can TUR 66:20
6. Bekelech Gudeta ETH 66:54
7. Pauline Esikon KEN 67:15
8. Stella Rutto ROU 67:45
9. Ayinadis Teshome ETH 68:18
10. Daisy Kimeli KEN 68:34
11. Medhin Gebreslassie ETH 68:38
12. Ludwina Chepngetich KEN 70:34
13. Moira Stewartova CZE 71:08
14. Fatma Karasu TUR 71:30
15. Kristina Hendel CRO 71:34