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Kenya’s Kipchoge predicts new course
record for Barcelona Half Marathon 

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya says a deep fast and quality field on show is capable of breaking his course record at the Barcelona Half Marathon on Sunday.

Kipchoge’s record of 1:00:04, which he set in 2013, has remained intact but organizers are bringing up top talents to try and bring it down.

Florence Kiplagat of Kenya has twice set a world record on the course, which has prompted the organizers to bring in faster runners.

“When I look at the line-up, it is a strong team of runners and they have run faster before. I see no challenge in them lowering the record,” Kipchoge said on Saturday in Nairobi.

Defending champion Leonard Langat, holder of a 59:18 personal best time set in Rome a couple of years ago, is the fastest entrant.

But the 27-year-old Kenyan will need to improve on his most recent outing - a 1:04:15 run in Egmond Aan Zee, the Netherlands - to be in the hunt for victory on Sunday.

Langat, who won last year in 1:00:52, will compete against fellow Kenyans Meshack Koech who clocked a career best of 1:00:07 in Lille last September, and Jonah Chesum, winner of last year’s Barcelona Marathon in a PB of 2:08:57.

Despite a relatively modest 1:02:04 time, Chesum is feeling confident ahead of this race.

“The line-up is strong but I think I have winning chances,” he said. “I will go for it.”

Moses Kurong is another serious contender. In addition to his track pedigree - he represented Uganda in the 10,000m at the 2017 World Championships and 2016 Olympics - the 23-year-old boasts a 59:50 best time, set in Copenhagen last September.

He will be joined by young compatriot Abdallah Mande, who clocked 1:00:51 in Breda last October.

Ethiopian charge will be headed by Mule Wasihun and Azmeraw Mengistu. The women’s line-up has Tejitu Daba as the fastest athlete having posted 1:08:21 in Lille last September.

There is also Mimi Belete and Kenya’s Susan Jeptoo Kipsang 1:09:02. Kipsang wants to take over from Florence Kiplagat who has won in Barcelona on three occasions.

Other elite runners are Ethiopia’s Dibabe Kuma, Rwanda’s Salome Nyirarukundu and USA’s Lindsey Scherf.



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