Joyce Chepkirui has the chance to continue an extraordinary record sequence at the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon on 5 April as the women’s course record at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race has been broken for the past three years in succession.
The current best stands at 1:06:48, but Chepkirui, who won in the Czech capital in 2012 with 1:07:03, will be looking to break the course record again at this year’s race.
If Chepkirui arrives in Prague in the kind of form she showed in Berlin last October, spectators in the heart of the picturesque city can expect something special. Back in the autumn, the 25-year-old missed the world 10km record by just 16 seconds in far from ideal weather conditions.
“It was too cold for me,” said the Kenyan, who nonetheless ran 30:37 to set a German all-comers’ record and the sixth fastest time ever for 10km.
Despite her fast time for 10km, Chepkirui prefers the longer distances, which reinforces hopes of a course record this year.
When she won in Prague two years ago, her winning time of 1:07:03 took 30 seconds off the previous mark set by fellow Kenyan Lydia Cheromei in 2011. In last year’s race, another Kenyan, Gladys Cherono, surpassed Chepkirui’s course record with 1:06:48.
This year in Prague, Chepkirui will face strong opposition; among them will be two-time world cross-country champion Emily Chebet. The Kenyan is also making a return to the event where she made her debut at the distance three years ago, finishing sixth in 1:12:00.
Also capable of challenging for victory will be Ethiopia’s Worknesh Debele with a best of 1:07:49 and compatriot Firehiwot Dado, the 2011 New York Marathon winner who has run 1:08:35.
The men’s field is headed by the Ethiopian Atsedu Tsegay who set the current course record and national record of 58:47 two years ago.
Having regained form after an ankle injury last year, Tsegay could even challenge the world record of 58:23 in Prague.
He is guaranteed strong opposition from Kenya in the form of Robert Chemosin, 2012 New York Half Marathon winner Peter Kirui, and 2011 Prague winner Philemon Limo. All three have sub-60-minute PBs.
Organisers for the IAAF