The last five editions of the Vidovdan Road Race have been won by five different Kenyan men. On Saturday 22 June, Hillary Kipchumba will look to keep that record at the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race in the Bosnian town of Brcko.
The 20-year-old is due for a significant revision of his 10km PB this weekend. His official best is 29:19, set two years ago, but earlier this year when he posted a Half-marathon best of 1:01:02 in Verbania, he passed through the 10km mark in 28:35.
He would only need to improve marginally upon that time to break the 28:11 course record, set in 2010 by former World junior 5000m champion Gordon Mugi. But much of the outcome will depend on how he deals with the conditions as temperatures in Brcko on Saturday are expected to reach 33°C.
Also expected to challenge for the victory is Eritrea’s Samson Gezahai. His 10km PB of 29:03 was set en route to a 43:43 clocking over 15km in a race where he defeated two-time World Marathon champion Abel Kirui.
Ethiopia’s Swiss-based Tolossa Chengere may also be a threat, though the 33-year-old’s 28:12 PB dates back to 2006. Hungary’s Barnabas Bene and Tomas Kovacs, an Olympian last year in the Marathon, are also in the field.
The women’s course record, set by four-time winner Olivera Jevtic with 32:04 in 2008, looks to be safe for another year, but there could still be a close battle for the victory.
Tanzania’s 2010 World junior 3000m finalist Mary Naali twiced dipped under 33 minutes for 10km last year and has a PB of 32:53. But the 20-year-old appeared to lack form in her last race, where she finished seventh at the San Blas Half Marathon in February.
If Naali is not at her best, Eritrea’s Letekidan Hailemariam could take the win. The relative unknown won the Shanghai Half Marathon last December with a PB of 73:23.
There are several strong Europeans in the field too, including Spain’s Elena Maria Espeso, an Olympian last year with a Marathon PB of 2:30:52, and Hungary’s Ida Kovacs, a 2004 Olympian with a Marathon best of 2:36:53.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF