27 JUL 2012 General News

Kirui leads strong field at Bogotá Half Marathon

Wilson Chebet, Peter Kirui, Sammy Kitwara, Feyisa Lilesa, and Yemane Tsegay in Bogota (Victah Sailer)Wilson Chebet, Peter Kirui, Sammy Kitwara, Feyisa Lilesa, and Yemane Tsegay in Bogota (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
Kenyan Peter Kirui, sixth at 10,000m in the 2011 IAAF World Championships, appears as the main protagonist of the 13th edition of the "Media Maratón de Bogotá" - an IAAF Gold Label Road Race that will take place in the streets of the Colombian capital on Sunday 29 July.

Mainly focused on road races in 2012, the 24-year-old Kirui is having a brilliant season. On 18 March set a personal best at the Half Marathon when winning the New York City Half in 59:39. On 4 July Kirui won the classic 10km Peachtree Race, in Atlanta, in 27:37 (another PB). And on 8 July was second in Utica (New York) at 15km in 43:33.

Kirui should be adapted to the 2600m of altitude of Bogotá where his target will be the course record of 1:02:24 set by compatriot Geoffrey Mutai in 2011. Kenyan runners have dominated the Bogotá Half Marathon with seven victories in the previous 12 editions.

Other strong Kenyan competitors will be Isaac Macharia (2:07:16 at Marathon from 2008) and Victor Kipchirchir (59:31 at Half Marathon at Den Haag this season).

However, their main adversary could be Ethiopian Feyisa Lelisa, the bronze medalist at the 2011 World Championships in the Marathon, who has ran 59:22 this season at Half Marathon (in Houston) and has a Marathon personal best of 2:05:23 (Rotterdam, 2010). Another dangerous Ethiopian could be Yemane Ahdane Tsegay, winner of the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon in a PB of 2:04:48.

Women’s race

The field in the women’s race is highlighted by 21-year-old Ethiopian Abebech Afework, who has a best of 1:10:30 at Half Marathon from 2011. Afework has also set a 10,000m best at the 2012 Prefontaine Classic in Eugene with 31:48.53. 29 year-old Amane Gobena, also from Ethiopia, comes to Bogotá with strong credentials as well. Gobena’s best times at Half Marathon (1:08:16 from 2009) and Marathon (2:24:13 from 2010) reflect her strength.

Their leading Kenyan adversary seems to be 28-year-old Gladys Cherono, who has set a personal best at the 2012 Prague Half Marathon (third place) with 1:08:18 in March.

The Bogotá course record in the women’s event has been untouched since Kenyan Susan Chepkemei ran 1:10:29 in 2003. Kenyan female runners have won this race in eight of the previous 12 editions.

Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF