Kenya's Stephen Kiprop and Ethiopians Jemal Yimer and Sembere Teferi are among the first star names announced for the Valencia Trinidad Alfonso EDP Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on 27 October.
Kiprop illustrated fine form in 2018, winning three half-marathon races in the Netherlands and Czech Republic, and finishing fifth in Valencia clocking 59:21. But it was in 2019 that the 20-year-old leapt to stardom by winning at Ras Al Khaimah with a sizzling time of 58:42, the fastest in the world this year.
Yimer, 22, finished second in Valencia last year in 58:33, an Ethiopian national record that elevated him the equal-third on the all-time list. Yimer has also illustrated solid form this season, clocking 26:54.39 at 10,000m in Hengelo last month. Last year he won the African title over the distance.
Teferi, 24, the first major announcement for the women's race, has followed a similar trajectory. She too set her career best in Ras Al Khaimah earlier this year, clocking 1:05:45. She clocked 30:45.14 on the track in Hengelo, finishing third, to reserve a spot on the Ethiopian squad for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.
Organisers are offering a €70,000 (US$77,700) world record bonus, as well as an additional €30,000 (US$33,300) bonus if the men's winner breaks the 58-minute barrier or if the women's winner dips under 1:04:30.
Both the current world records, 58:18 for men and 1:04:51 for women, have been set in Valencia.
Organisers for the IAAF