Zersenay Tadese winning at the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships (© Getty Images)
Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese and Rose Chelimo of Bahrain will be the star attractions at the Vodafone Lisbon Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday (14).
Tadese, the world record holder over the distance at 58:23, has won the Lisbon Half Marathon held each sprint on several occasions, an is now targeting Wilson Kirop’s 1:00.19 course record set in 2013.
He’ll face a field that includes Kenyan Japhet Korir who has a 1:00:09 personal best; Eritrean Amanuel Mesel who’s run 1:00:10 and finished fourth here in 2016; Tanzanian Emanuel Gniki (1:00:47), winner of Shanghai Marathon last year; Turkey’s Polat Kemboi Arikan (1:01:03), the 2012 and 2016 European 10,000m champion; and Moroccan Mustapha El Aziz, who has clocked 59:29.
On the women’s side, Chelimo, the 2017 world marathon champion, heads the field. Winner of the Lisbon half Marathon three years ago, Chelimo has a 1:08:08 lifetime best to her credit. She’ll face Israel's Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (1:08:59), the European 10,000m champion.
Others expected in the chase include Kenyans Lydia Cheromei (1:07:26 PB) and Antonina Kwanbai (1:08:07) as well as Ethiopian Yebrgual Arage (1:08:21).
The field also includes leading Portuguese runners Dulce Felix (1:08:33), whose second place finish in 2009 was the best showing by a Portuguese in this race; Sara Moreira (1:09:18), the 2016 European champion in the half marathon; Jessica Augusto (1:09:08); and Carla Salomé Rocha (1:13:01), whose following up a strong eighth place finish from the Berlin Marathon where she clocked 2:25.27.
António Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF
Course record the target at Lisbon Marathon
An assault on the men’s course record could be in the cards at the EDP Lisbon Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on Sunday (14).
The well balanced men’s field includes 10 runners with personal bests under 2:09, targeting the 2:08:21 course record set by Samuel Wanjiku Ndungu in 2014. The Kenyan, who has a 2:07:04 personal best, is in the field, joining two other past winners: Kenyans Alfred Kering (2:07:11 PB), winner in 2016 with 2:10:27, and Ishmael Bushendich (2:08:20 personal best), the defending champion who clocked 2:10:51 last year. The 27-year-old finished second in the Vienna Marathon earlier this year.
However, they will have to watch Ethiopian Girmay Birhanu Gebru, who has a personal best of 2:05:49, who was fifth in the Rome marathon last April and Kenyan Erik Ndiema, who set his personal best of 2:06.07 at the 2013 Paris Marathon, still the Kenyan national U20 record.
The field also includes Ethiopian Birhan Nebebew, the winner of last year’s Lisbon Half Marathon with 1:00:53 credentials.
In the women’s race, Ethiopian Guteni Shone is the fastest in the field with a 2:23.32 lifetime best. That suggests that the course record of 2:24:13, set by Kenyan Sarah Chepchirchir in 2016, could be within reach.
Other strong contenders include Kenyan Monica Jepkoech, a 2:24:31 marathoner who was third at the Seoul Marathon in March, Ethiopian Tigist Memuye (2:27:39) and her compatriot Muluhabt Tsega (2:28:08).
António Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF
Amdouni chasing second Paris 20km title
Morhad Amdouni will be targeting a second title at the 40th edition of 20km de Paris, an IAAF Bronze Label road race, on Sunday (14).
Amdouni, the winner in 2016, was forced to withdraw from last year’s edition due to injury which in his absence was won by Kenyan Collins Chebii. Amdouni looks to be the favourite following his successful 10,000m title-winning run at the European Championships in Berlin in August. He clocked in 28:11.22 on that occasion and holds a PB of 27:36.80 set in May. Four days later the 30-year-old Frenchman won bronze in the 5000m and hasn’t raced since.
Stephen Ogari should be one of his main rivals. The Kenyan won here in 2015, one year prior to Amdouni and eight seconds faster, 59:11 to 59:19. Gauging Ogari’s form, however, is difficult as he has only run two 3000m races this year, both with modest times.
Alfred Cherop of Kenya holds the fastest PB of the field over the distance with 58:20, but that dates back to 2012. Cherop, who has a 27:59 10km lifetime best, was third in 2016 in 59:25. More recently, he clocked 1:01:58 over 20km in May.
Rwanda’s Felicien Muhitira and Nicholas Mulinge Makau could be also be in contention for the podium. The former was fourth at last year’s edition in 58:43 and the latter recorded a 15km PB of 44:19 this year. Elvis Tabarach, 21, will also have a say. He finished fifth last year but was credited with the same time as Muhitira.
The men’s course record of 57:19 set in 2005 shouldn’t be in jeopardy.
The women’s course will crown a new winner as no previous champion will be on the start line.
Ethiopian Chaltu Dida appears to be the favourite, who’ll be looking to move up from her fourth place showing last year when she clocked 1:07:49. Dida also a 32:32 10km best.
Agnes Keino of Kenya, who will make her first appearance on the French roads, improved her 10km PB to 32:41 one month ago. Frenchwomen Liv Westphal could play her card right. The 24-year-old, who will tackle the distance for the first time, clocked a 10 km personal best of 32:35 in January.
The women’s course record is 1:05:01 set by Rose Chelimo in 2014.
Quentin Guillon for the IAAF
Heated battle expected at Bucharest Marathon
Meanwhile, strong battles are expected at the Bucharest Marathon, another IAAF Bronze Label Road Race set for Sunday.
The fastest men in the field are Ethiopians Birhanu Bekele Berga and Kaleb Kashebo, who've clocked 2:09:4 an 2:09:44 respectively.
Samson Mungai, armed with 2:10:38 credentials, leads the Kenyan contingent which also includes Joel Kipkogei Kimutai, who has a 2:11:51 lifetime best.
Twenty-one-year-old Abeba Tekulu Gebremeskel of Ethiopia, with a 2:30:18 personal best, leads the women's field.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF
Kenya and Ethiopia set to battle at Poznan Marathon
Kenyan Cosmas Kyeva leads the field in the Poznan Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race, also on Sunday.
Kyeva, who clocked 2:11:56 at the 2016 Debno Marathon, will face compatriot Silas Sang, who clocked 2:13:32 at last year's Poznan Marathon, and Endal Abayneh Belachew of Ethiopia, who comes armed with a 2:12:06 personal best.
The women's race Alemitu Ajema Lema of Ethiopia, who clocked 2:31:36 at the Mersin Marathon last year, and Tesfanesh Merga, who ran 2:32:47 in Dubai earlier this year.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF