The streets of Prague will be graced by the greatest collection of elite athletes ever to run a half marathon in the Czech Republic on April 1, with Kenyans highlighting the field at the 19th Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon.
The women’s field is particularly compelling, led by the reigning IAAF World Half Marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir who is also the newly-minted world record holder after her one hour, five minutes and six seconds recorded at last month’s RAK Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates.
Chepchirchir will be challenged by compatriot Violah Jepchumba, who not only won the race last year but also ran the fastest half-marathon of 2016 (1:05:51).
Another Kenyan, Joyciline Jepkosgei, who recently set a personal best of 1:06:08 at the RAK Half Marathon last month, should also challenge for the title. The men’s field is strong enough for chasing sub-one hour. Four Kenyans — Barselius Kipyego, Kenya’s cross country captain Leonard Patrick Komon, Geoffrey Yegon and Vincent Yator — have all run sub-60 during their careers.
Komon, the world record holder for both 10-kilometre and 15-kilometre races on the roads, is the fastest with a 59:15 career best.
Kipyego has run 59:15, Yegon 59:44, and Yator 59:55. The men’s field also has two Olympic medalists, Galen Rupp of the United States and Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia.
Carlo Capalbo, whose RunCzech Racing Project has transformed running in the Czech Republic, will be celebrating the one millionth runner at the Prague Half Marathon.
“RunCzech completely changed the Czech society. This year we welcome the one millionth runner in RunCzech history,” he told Nation Sport.
“One million is 10 per cent of the population in the Czech Republic. It is the best achievement, and a great pleasure to see how you change people’s lives.
“But we want to do more, and particularly through the RunCzech Racing project. We want athletes to have a familiar place in Europe, and feel in Prague like at home,” he added.
Additional reporting from EME News