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Three-time reigning champion Tadese set to defend titles in Birmingham – World Half Marathon

Zersenay Tadese wins the World Half Marathon Championships for the third year in a row (Getty Images)Zersenay Tadese wins the World Half Marathon Championships for the third year in a row (Getty Images) © Copyright

CarloHeading the Entry List for the IAAF / EDF Energy World Half Marathon Championships which take place in Birmingham, UK on 11 October 2009, is three-time reigning champion Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea.

The World Half Marathon is the fifth and final IAAF World Athletics Series competition of 2009, and will bring together many of the world’s best road runners to contest this annual event.

Tadese won the first of his titles in Debrecen, Hungary in 2007, at the briefly (for two years) renamed World Road Running Championship, over the distance of 20km. He repeated his success the following year over the half marathon in the northern Italian town of Udine setting his personal best of 58:59 which still stands as the seventh quickest run of all time on courses applicable for record purposes.

The manner of the Eritrean’s third victory last year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was a picture of brilliance. Tadese’s run was a solo venture of athletics magnitude, breaking away from a quality field after just 5km to win the first prize of US$30,000 in a time of 59:56, nearly two minutes ahead of his closest challenger, Patrick Makau Musyoki (1:01:54) who had also been a silver medallist in 2007.

Makau, the world’s fastest in 2009, is not in the Kenyan line-up this time but in the shape of Sammy Kitwara the winner of the Rotterdam Half Marathon in a PB of 58:58, the second fastest time of 2009, they still have a man more than capable of giving Tadese a run for his money in Birmingham.

Kenyan men have won nine of the 17 individual titles so far contested including victory at the inaugural World Half Marathon Championships which were also hosted in the UK on Tyneside in 1992.

Tadese, the former World Cross Country champion, has had a bit of an up and down year with his bronze medal finish at the World Cross in Amman in March followed up by the disappointment of his ‘did not finish’ in what was his marathon debut in London in April, and back up again to the elation of his World Championships silver medal over 10,000m (26:50.12) behind Kenenisa Bekele in Berlin.

Already the only three-time male winner of the World Half Marathon title, can Tadese make it number four on 11 October in Birmingham?

Chris Turner for the IAAF