The IAAF Label calendar picks up this weekend with several key road races taking place across four continents, including the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the FNB Durban 10k and the 20km de Paris.
Red hot Chepkirui leads strong women’s field at Durban 10km
Strong fields will gather for the FNB Durban 10k CitySurfRun, an IAAF Bronze Label road race, in the South African port city on Sunday (13).
Four women who will toe the start line have broken 32 minutes for the distance: Sheila Chepkirui is one of just three women who have ever broken the 30-minute barrier. The 28-year-old joined that exclusive club in Prague last month where she clocked 29:57 to become the second fastest woman over the distance. The Kenyan is expected to set a fast pace from the outset on the fast and flat course of Durban.
Stella Chesang, who clocked 31:14 to take the Durban victory last year, returns to defend her title just two weeks after her 10,000m appearance at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.
Another fast entrant is Kenyan Evaline Chirchir, the 21-year-old who ran 30:43 in Valencia in January, the eighth fastest time of the year.
Ethiopia’s Bone Cheluke and Kenyan Polline Wanjiku, late entrants, could also be a factor. Cheluke, 21, clocked 31:48 at the Oelder Sparkassen Citylauf on 8 June to finish second in her first road 10km. Wanjiku, also 21, boasts a noteworthy 54:59 best for 10 miles, 1:08:20 for the half marathon and a 32:10 for 10km.
Kenyan William Sitonik will also be among the key men to watch in the men’s race.
A world youth 3000m champion in 2011, Sitonik, now 25, has since collected sub-27 minute 10,000m credentials on the track. In March he improved his half marathon lifetime best to 1:00:47 in Azpeitia, Spain.
One of the favourites in the men’s race is Stephen Kissa who is targeting a sub 27-minute clocking. Sitonik says he’s up for the challenge.
“I am not coming to Durban on holiday,” says Sitonik. “The race has developed a reputation for being fast, and if Stephen (Kissa) is looking to run that fast, then I will need to bring my best form and give him a challenge.”
Meanwhile their compatriot Wilfred Kimitei comes armed with a 28:02 10km best from 2016 and a quick 59:40 half marathon best set in Ras Al Khaimah in 2018.
Organisers and Bob Ramsak for the IAAF
Girma prepared for Changzhou defence
Reigning champion Taye Girma of Ethiopia will return to the Chinese city of Changzhou eyeing to retain his title at the 2019 Changzhou West Taihu Lake Half Marathon, an IAAF bronze label road race, on Sunday (13).
The 23-year-old Girma scored a 1:03:04 victory to set the course record in the southeastern city last October, one month before achieving his personal best of 1:00:55 when taking top honours in Boulogne-Billancourt.
Most recently, the 2018 Ethiopian national 10,000m champion clocked 1:02:52 to finish ninth at the Venloop Half Marathon in March.
Girma’s countryman Asefa Tefera is the fastest entrant on paper with a PB of 1:00:07 set in his runner-up finish in Istanbul last year. Although the 22-year-old was only 18th in February’s Ras Al Khaimah half in 1:02:44, he improved his marathon career best to 2:07:56 at the Lake Biwa Marathon one month later in Japan.
Kenya’s Edwin Kiptoo, 31, also improved his marathon PB this year, clocking 2:10:17 to finish fourth in Madrid. Kiptoo has not won any half marathon title since his victory at the Zwolle Half Marathon in 2013, but managed to improved his life-time best time to 1:00:11 in 2015 and claimed the Beirut Marathon title with 2:13:14 the following year.
The field also includes Derara Hurisa of Ethiopia, a 1:01:45 performer who has already run two half marathon races this year in Paris and Kiev, finishing second on both occasions.
With the absence of defending champion and course record holder Hosea Kiprotich Rutto, Kenya’s Mercy Kibarus will be the top returnee in the women’s race.
The 35-year-old Kibarus clocked 1:12:56 to finish second in Changzhou last year, falling eight seconds behind Rutto’s course record and more than four minutes shy of her personal best of 1:08:18 set back in 2013 at the Roma-Ostia Half Marathon.
Kibarus clocked 1:08:42 to finish fifth at the 2014 World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen and has yet to run a half marathon race so far in 2019.
The 23-year-old Zinash Mekonnen could be the biggest threat to Kibarus on Sunday. The rising Ethiopia set her half marathon PB of 1:08:30 last March in Valencia and improved her career best over the classic distance to 2:25:42 in Seoul this year.
Etagegn Woldu, also from Ethiopia, is another sub-70 minutes runner toeing the line. The 23-year-old cut a figure early on the international stage, finishing third in the U20 race at the 2015 World Cross Country Championships. Last year she set a half marathon PB of 1:09:22 to finish fifth in Istanbul, one month after taking a 1:11:27 victory in Lisbon.
Vincent Wu for the IAAF
New champions to be crowned at Paris 20km
Frenchmen Florian Carvalho and Hassan Chahdi and Felicien Muhitira of Rwanda look to be the favourites at the Paris 20 km, an IAAF Silver Label road race, whose 41st edition will be held on Sunday (13).
With no previous winner on the start line, the 2019 edition will crown new champions in both races.
Carvalho and Chahdi, both in the build-up for their upcoming appearances at the Valencia Marathon on 1 December, should be at the front. Their goal will be to succeed Morhad Amdouni, the last French winner of the race who took the title in 2016.
Chadhi finished third in 59:51 last year, 1:38 behind winner Samuel Tsegay of Eritrea. Chahdi’s best 2019 performance was a marathon personal best of 2:09:55 set in Seville in February.
Carvalho also set a new marathon best this year, clocking 2:12:53 in Paris. He also clocked 29:00 over 10km in June, finishing 1:42 ahead of Chadhi, who is expected to be in better shape on Sunday.
Muhitira should have a role to play. The Rwandan was runner-up at last year’s edition, finishing 12 seconds adrift of Tsegay. He should have been the favourite but he finished a distant 22nd in the marathon at the World Championships one week ago (2:16:21). The speed of his recovery will be a key factor in Sunday’s race.
Nicolas Navarro, who improved his marathon PB this year to 2:11:53 will also be in the running for the podium, as well as Haile Ibrahimov of Azerbaijan.
Other French runners expected to contend include marathoner Benjamin Malaty and Michael Gras. Evans Kiprop Cheruiyot set the men’s course record of 57:19 back to 2005.
On the women’s side, the defending champion Ophélie Claude-Boxberger, who competed in the 3000m steeplechase in Doha, won’t defend her title.
In her absence Susan Kipsang Jeptoo appears to be one the main favourite. She has a 32:14 10km season’s best in 2019. Liv Westphal, third last year, should be her main rival.
Chaltu Negasa, who knows the race well, Kenyan Joyline Koima as well as French runners Samira Mezeghrane Saad and Alice Finot, who finished fourth and fifth respectively, last year, should be in the running for the podium. Not to be discounted is Mekdes Woldu from Eritrea.
The women’s course record is held by Kenya’s Rose Chelimo, who ran 1:05:01 in 2014.
About 30,000 runners are expected to enter the race on Sunday.
Quentin Guillon for the IAAF
Fonte Oficial: IAAF.
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