PRAGUE, April 18- Fresh from winning the men’s and women’s races respectively at the London Marathon, world record-holder Wilson Kipsang and two-time world champion Edna Kiplagat have signed up to compete at the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on June 21.
Their victories last weekend in the British capital strengthened their claims to being the top marathoners in the world at present.
Kipsang defeated an Olympic and world champion, a course record-holder, the defending champion, and a man who ran the fastest marathon ever. His winning time of 2:04:29 was a course record and his fifth sub-2:05 race.
Last year, Kiplagat became the first woman to retain the world marathon title, successfully defending the gold medal she won in 2011. With her recent victory in London, she defeated the 5000m world record-holder, the half-marathon world record-holder and the defending London champion.
Kipsang and Kiplagat will now turn their attention to making an impression on the half-marathon distance in Olomouc.
The race in the small city of about 110,000 residents in Moravia in the eastern part of the Czech Republic has become popular locally and is an important part of the successful international RunCzech series of seven races.
Both Kipsang and Kiplagat will be competing in the Czech Republic for the first time. Their respective PBs of 58:59 and 1:07:41 are quicker than the course records of 1:00:44 and 1:10:38.
“The world is used to seeing athletes of this calibre only in well-known big city events like those in London or New York, but we are showing that a small city with a commitment to quality and a beautiful setting can compete with those cities,” said Carlo Capalbo, president of the organising committee.
The full elite start list will be announced at a later date, but it will feature athletes with the credentials to challenge the obvious favourites.