Ethiopian distance runner Mare Dibaba (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
General News Lisbon, Portugal

Mare Dibaba and Bernard Koech lead Lisbon Half Marathon fields

World marathon champion Mare Dibaba and Kenya’s Bernard Koech headline the elite fields for the Rock’n’Roll Vodafone RTP Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, in Lisbon on 18 October.

As well as having the fastest half-marathon PB of the field with her 1:07:13 clocking from 2010, Dibaba also owns the fastest marathon PB, having twice clocked 2:19:52.

Dibaba will be up against fellow Ethiopian Tirfi Tsegaye, winner of the Berlin and Tokyo marathons last year. Her last half marathon was in 2012 when she clocked a PB of 1:07:42 in the Rome-Ostia race.

Wude Ayalew, the 2009 world 10,000m bronze medallist, is also in the field. Her half-marathon PB of 1:07:58 was set on her debut at the distance back in 2009.

Sara Moreira, the 2013 European indoor 3000m champion, leads the Portuguese entries.

Koech owns a marathon PB of 2:04:53 and a half-marathon best of 58:41. Although it was set on San Diego’s downhill course, it still makes him the third-fastest man in history under any conditions.

He has run faster than an hour for the distance on four other occasions, including a victory at the EDP Half Marathon of Lisbon – a different event to next month’s one in the Portuguese capital – in 59:54.

Koech will line up alongside 2011 world 10,000m champion Ibrahim Jeilan. The Ethiopian has contested the past two editions of this race, finishing eighth in 2014 and 11th in 2013.

Alex Oloitiptip, who finished fourth in this race last year, is also in the field. The Kenyan recently set a half-marathon PB of 59:28 in Copenhagen.

“Even though this course isn’t as flat as the one used for the other Lisbon race held earlier in the year, I believe this group of athletes can bring down the course record of 1:00:19,” said race organiser Carlos Moia.

The men's course record was set in 2013 by Wilson Kiprop, while the women's course record of 1:07:54 was set in 2011 by Mary Keitany.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF