Sharon Cherop winning in Turin (© Giancarlo Colombo)
Kenyan runners Sharon Cherop, Robert Chemosin and Simon Cheprot will return to the Roma Ostia Half Marathon on Sunday (1) looking for victory, having all finished as runner-up at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race in recent years.
In 2013 Chemosin finished runner-up in 59:19, four seconds behind winner Wilson Kiprop who set a course record of 59:15, while Cheprot took third place in 59:20. Last year Cheprot finished second in 1:00:05 ahead of Chemosin, who clocked 1:00:24.
Another sub-hour runner in the line-up will be John Kiprotich, who set his personal best with 59:23 in Rotterdam in 2009. Kiprotich has already run the Roma Ostia race in 2012 when he finished fourth in 1:00:02.
A runner who could break the Kenyan dominance is Geoffrey Kusuro from Uganda, who clocked 1:00:40 at the 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen and has a solid 5000m PB of 13:12.32.
The leading European runners in the field are Russia’s Aleksey Reunkov, who won the marathon bronze medal at last year’s European Championships, and Italy’s Ahmed El Mazoury, the 2011 European under-23 10,000m silver medallist who will be looking to improve his half-marathon personal best of 1:03:37. El Mazoury will use the Roma Ostia race to prepare for his marathon debut at the Milano Suisse Gas Marathon on 12 April.
Kenya’s 2011 world marathon bronze medallist Sharon Cherop will headline the women’s race. Last year she finished runner-up in 1:08:51 at the Roma Ostia Half Marathon in a close sprint finish.
The former Boston Marathon champion finished third in this race in 2011 and 2013 and has a PB of 1:07:08 for the distance. She also boasts wins in Toronto in 2010 and in Turin in 2013 and two runner-up places in Berlin 2013 and in Frankfurt 2014.
Cherop will take on her compatriots Sylvia Kibet and Penina Arusei. Kibet won two world silver medals in the 5000m in Berlin 2009 and Daegu 2011 after finishing fourth in Osaka 2007 and at the Olympic Games in Bejing 2008. She is the sister of Hilda Kibet, who finished fourth at the Roma-Ostia Half Marathon in 2013.
Arusei won the world half marathon bronze medal in 2010 in 1:09:05 and set her personal best of 1:07:48 in Lille in 2010.
More than 13,000 runners will take part in the 41st edition of the Roma Ostia Half Marathon.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF