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Kenyan duo leads strong Delhi HM fields

Erick Kiptanui winning the Lisbon Half Marathon in 2018. PHOTO/IAAF

NEW DELHI, India, Sep 25 – Organisers have announced the elite fields for the Delhi Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, whose 14th edition is set for October 21.

Leading the list is this year’s fastest man over the distance, Eric Kiptanui.

The Kenyan has already notched up two impressive half marathon victories in 2018, winning the high-quality Lisbon and Berlin races earlier in the year, coming home in the German capital in a world-leading 58:42 to move up to number four on the world all-time list.

Kiptanui will be accompanied on his first trip to India by his training partner Daniel Kipchumba, who paced Kiptanui to 15 kilometres in Berlin.

A few weeks later, Kipchumba stood on top of the podium himself after a win at the Verbania half marathon in Italy in 59:06.

Two-time TCS World 10K winner Alex Korio – whose best of 58:51 was set in the 2017 Copenhagen Half Marathon – has been a regular participant in Procam International events in recent years and has run in Delhi twice in the past, last in 2015, but has never faced either of his two compatriots in battle so the tactics between the three Kenyans will be fascinating to watch.

-Ethiopian duo

Representing Ethiopia will be two men who are better known as marathon runners but who can still boast of outstanding half marathon credentials.

Leul Gebresilase was second in the Dubai Marathon at the start of the year in 2:04:02 while Feyisa Lilesa won a memorable silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, their half marathon bests are 59:18 and 59:22 respectively.

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Adding to the considerable global interest in the race, USA’s Leonard Korir and New Zealand’s Zane Robertson are also in the men’s elite field.

Korir just missed the North and Central American record of 59:43 when he ran his personal best of 59:52 at this race last year while Robertson holds the Oceania area record with 59:47.

All the runners will have in mind the very good course records in Delhi.

The men’s mark is 59:06 and was set by Ethiopia’s Guye Adola in 2014 while the women’s course record has been standing since 2009 and belongs to Kenya’s Mary Keitany at 1:06:54.

The two fastest women in the ADHM elite field, Kenya’s Caroline Kipkirui and Ethiopia’s 2016 winner Worknesh Degefa, will go head-to-head again after a memorable duel in the Prague Half Marathon back in April.

-Personal best

Kipkirui – who set a personal best of 1:05:07 in Ras Al Khaimah in January – prevailed by just one second on that occasion to take second place in the Czech capital and it’s certain that Degefa will have that in mind ahead of her fourth ADHM appearance.

Two other highly-rated Ethiopian women will also be on the start line in Delhi: Yeshaneh Ababel and Senbere Teferi.

All the leading runners will also have in their sights first prize cheques of Sh2.7mn (US$27,000) with a total prize money purse (combined men and women) of Sh28mn (US$280,000).

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Elite fields for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2018 (with personal bests):

MEN –

Eric Kiptanui (KEN) 58:42

Alex Korio (KEN) 58:51

Daniel Kipchumba (KEN) 59:06

Leul Gebresilase (ETH) 59:18

Feyisa Lilesa (ETH) 59:22

WOMEN –

Caroline Kipkirui (KEN) 1:05:07

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Worknesh Degefa (ETH) 1:06:14

Yeshaneh Ababel (ETH) 1:06:22

Zeineba Yimer (ETH) 1:08:07

Shitaye Eshete (BRN) 1:08:25

Salome Nyirarukundo (RWA) 1:08:48

Stacy Ndiwa (KEN) 1:09:09

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