Paula Radcliffe Star
of 10th IAAF World Half
Marathon Championships - Biggest Rivals
From Africa And Japan
3 October 2001 – Monte Carlo– Two hundred and fifty two athletes – 166 men and 86 women – will compete on Sunday in Bristol (GBR), on the occasion of the 10th IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. The course through the streets of this attractive port city will comprise two laps of a 10.55km circuit, with the men’s race starting at 9.30 am and the women’s at 10.45 (10.30 and 11.45 am CET). Both individual and team titles are awarded at this Championships and 61 countries will participate, although not all will compete for the team competition, which is awarded on the basis of the cumulative times of the best three athletes from each country.
The IAAF will distribute a total of $245,000 dollars in prize money (USD), with the two individual winners each receiving $30,000. Second through sixth placed athletes will receive, respectively, $15,000; $10,000; $7,000; $5,000 and $3,000. The two winning teams will each receive $15,000 with the second to sixth placers receiving $12,000; $9,000; $7,500; $6,000 and $3,000.
The superstar of this tenth edition will without a doubt be Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie: the world record holder and Olympic champion over 10,000 metres appears the most likely successor to Paul Tergat, the winner of this Championships in Palermo in 1999 and in Veracruz last year. Tergat is also the owner of the world best for the event with his time of 59:06 in Lisbon in 2000.
In the women’s race, the favourite has to be Great Britain’s Paula Radcliffe who won with a time of 1:09:07, the first world title of her career in Veracruz 2000, after a succession of many silver and bronze medals but never before gold.
At 28 years of age, Radcliffe continues to divide her time between cross country – she is the reigning World Champion for the long course cross – the track – she came 4th in the World Championships 10,000m in Edmonton – and road running, demonstrating a rare combination of talent, passion and professional discipline.
In Bristol, Radcliffe’s most dangerous adversaries will once again come from Africa: Elana Meyer, the South African who has one of the best times for this distance (1:06:44 in 1999 in Tokyo); Susan Chepkemei (KEN) who came second in Veracruz last year in 1:09:40 and who clocked 1:08:40 in South Shields two weeks ago; Berhane Adere, the 28-year-old Ethiopian, who won silver in the 10,000m in Edmonton and Joyce Chepchumba (KEN), training partner of Tegla Loroupe and bronze medallist in the marathon in Edmonton, who has a personal best of 1:08:18 for the half marathon.
Nor should one underestimate the Japanese and Romanian contenders. Japan is fielding a young squad with good hopes of lifting the team title, they are led by 23-year-old Mizuki Noguchi, who came fourth in Veracruz and second in Palermo, with a personal best for the distance of 1:08:30 and 24-year-old Takako Kotorida, the winner of this year’s Yamaguchi half marathon in 1:09:04. Finally, Iulia Olteanu, a veteran roadrunner, is a Romanian who has always achieved good results in the event: from 2nd in Oslo 1994 with 1:09:15 to 1:09:52 on 11 March 2001 in Kyoto.
The IAAF web site for the event carries historical information on the World Half Marathon Championships and updated profiles for all of the athletes competing in Bristol.