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