Catherine Ndereba of Kenya wins the 2007 World Marathon title in Osaka (Bongarts/Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Bogota, Colombia

Ndereba and a hot men’s race at Bogota Half Marathon - PREVIEW

Reigning World marathon champion Catherine Ndereba in the women’s race, and what should be a hotly contested men’s race, highlight the 10th edition of the Bogota International Half Marathon on Sunday (2 Aug).

The Bogota International Half Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

Ndereba returns

Ndereba, who turned 37-years-old last week, is a two-time World Marathon champion and she is making the trip to Bogota for the second time. In 2006 she won in 1:12:56. (The race is run at an altitude of 2600 meters.)

The Kenyan is, of course, a four-time winner of the Boston marathon and a silver medallist in the last two Olympic Games Marathons. This year she was seventh at the London Marathon and second at the City Pier City Half Marathon. She has a 1:07:54 PB for the half marathon, and Bogota is the beginning of a late summer racing season that includes the New York Half Marathon in two weeks.  

Yet Ndereba should be strongly challenged by Kenya’s Pamela Chepchumba, Russia’s Tatiana Aryasova and Mexico’s Dulce Maria Rodriguez. 

Chepchumba, the defending champion, has a 1:08:06 PB and bronze medals from the last two World Half Marathon Championships on her shelf. Aryosova was the 2008 Los Angeles Marathon winner, and has a PB of 1:10:20. Rodriguez, a 2008 Olympic 10,000 meter finalist, has a 1:10:30 half marathon PB to her credit.

Makau vs. Macharia

In the men’s race, the year’s fastest half marathoner, Patrick Makau, is set to square off against two-time defending champ Isaac Macharia.

Makau, 24, who ran 58:52 for his PB in February at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, possibly missed a World record at that race, if not for a stiff head wind. He has nine sub-one-hour half marathons on his resume and is a two-time runner-up at the World Half Marathon Championships. In addition to Ras Al Khaimah, the tactically aggressive runner has notched half-marathon wins at Reading, City Pier City, Berlin and Rotterdam. He has a marathon PB of 2:06:14, in his debut at Rotterdam this year.

Macharia, 28, on the other hand, is a three-time winner at Bogota - he won for the first time in 2004 - and has a 1:00:48 PB. He was the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon Champion in 2007, and has runner-up finishes at the 2007 Delhi Half Marathon and the 2008 Dubai Marathon. He has a marathon PB of 2:07:16.

But if one race stands out in this head-to-head match it would be round one, Bogota in 2007. There, Macharia got the best of Makau…by a lot. Macharia’s winning time of 1:03:40 was almost two minutes up on Makau (1:05:33) in fourth place.  Of course, that was two years ago and Makau should be better ready for Bogota’s altitude, as well as Macharia’s race tactics. Last year Macharia went virtually from the gun.

Waiting in the wings to possibly steal the race are Kenya’s Wilson Chebet and Morocco’s Ridouane Harroufi.

Chebet was 40 seconds back of Makau at Ras Al Khaimah this year (for the fourth best time of the year) and has 2009 wins at the Pardubice and Rabat half marathons.

This year Harroufi was second at the Peachtree Road race and the winner at the Boilermaker 15K. Last year was Harroufi’s debut in Bogota and he struggled with the altitude, finishing 8th in 1:07:02. The second time around he should be a lot closer to his PB of 1:01:37. 

More than 45,000 runners in a combined half marathon and 10K will tour Bogota and finish in Simon Bolivar Park.

Dave Kuehls for the IAAF