(© Marcelino Almeida)
Lisbon, PortugalThe EDP Lisbon Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, will present, once again, an attempt to break the Half Marathon World record, when it takes place on Sunday 25 March 2012.
In the lead pack of this attempt is Eritrean Zersenay Tadese, the World record holder. In his first visit to Lisbon (2010) he broke the record (58.23) and last year finished just 7 seconds off this goal (58.30) in his second win in the race.
Now, if the weather conditions are helping the runners, the Olympic bronze medallist, IAAF World Half Marathon three-time champion(2007-2009) and 2006 IAAF World Road Running (20km) champion, will possibly win an extra amount of US$50,000 which is the bonus for breaking the World record.
Tadese will have the opposition of seven other athletes who ran the distance under 60 minutes, and other athletes looking forward to great performances as usually happens in Lisbon, where, in all time, where achieved 29 under 60 minutes results.
Tadese will be able to count on the presence of his countrymen Teklemariam Medhin (27:37.21 at 10,000 m), IAAF 2010 World Cross Country Championship silver medalist; Yared Asmeron (pb: 60:28), fourth in 2007 IAAF World Championship marathon; and Kidane Tadesse, fourth in the 2008 Olympic Games in 5000m.
In the opponent’s field Kenya’s Peter Kamais (pb: 59:53), 2010 New York Half Marathon winner, and this year Xiamen marathon winner (2:07.37); Titus Kwemoi Masai (pb: 59:51), 3rd in 2011 Ras Al Khaimah International Half Marathon (UAE); Gilbert Masai (pb: 60:28), 5th in 2010 Lisbon Half Marathon; John Nzau Mwangangi (pb: 59:45), 2nd in 2011 Lisbon Half Marathon and Valencia Half Marathon 2010 and 2011 winner, and 2010 and 2011 20 km Paris winner; Sammy Kigen, 2011 Warszawa Half Marathon and 4th in 2011 Portugal Half Marathon; Paul Lonyangata, the 2010 IAAF Junior World Championship 10.000 m bronze medalist; and Mark Korir (pb: 61:33), 2011 Rio de Janeiro Hal Marathon winner, second in 2011 S. Paulo S. Silvestre road race.
Other competitors whio could focus in the first places are Ethiopian Dino Sefir Kemal (pb: 59:42), winner in the HuMarathon (France), second in 2012 Dubai Marathon with the fantastic performance of 2.04.50; Tanzanian Dickson Marwa Mkami (pb: 59:52), 4th in 2009 Lisbon Half Marathon (5th in 2011); North American Mohamed Trafeh (pb.: 60:39), United States of America 2011 Half Marathon champion; Zimbabwe Cuthbert Nyasango (pb: 60:26), 10th in 2007 IAAF World Half Marathon Championship.
In the Portuguese field, Rui Silva (pb: 62:48), former 2004 Olympic 1500m bronze medallist; Manuel Damião (pb: 63:07), 2012 Portuguese road race and cross country champion; Rui Pedro Silva (pb: 62:38); Yousef el Kalai (pb: 63:07), 2010 European Cross Country bronze medallist; José Rocha (pb: 63:19), 2011 European Cross Country bronze medallist.
For the first time in the story of this event, the women will start before the men. The organizers have invited strong athletes in the like of Ethiopians Mergia Aselefech (pb: 67:21), 2012 and 2010 Dubai marathon winner, 2009 IAAF World Championship marathon bronze medallist and 2008 IAAF World Half Marathon Championship silver medallist and Gutemi Shone Imana (pb: 70:07), 6th in 2012 Ostia Roma Half Marathon.
There will also be Kenyans Peninah Arusei (pb: 67:48), 2010 IAAF World Half Marathon bronze medallist; 2010 Lisbon Half Marathon winner, 2nd in 2012 Paris Half Marathon, Pauline Njeri (pb: 68:55), 2nd in 2012 Paris Half Marathon, 4th in 2011 Lisbon Half Marathon, Rita Jeptoo (pb: 1:09.56), winner in 2007 Lisbon Half marathon (1:07.05, before the change of the course), Lineth Chepkurui (pb: 67:47), 2012 Barcelona Half Marathon winner, Priscah Jeptoo (pb: 70:26), 2011 IAAF World Championships marathon silver medalist and 2011 Paris Marathon winner, Diana Chepkemoi Sigei (pb:70:36), 7th in 2011 Lisbon Half Marathon, 2nd in 2012 Berlin 25 km; Peninah Kigen (pb: 67:55).
The non-African field is led by American Shalane Flanagan (pb: 68:37), 2012 Houston Half Marathon winner and 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Champioship bronze medallist; the Netherlands' Lornah Kiplagat (pb: 66:25), three times IAAF World Half Marathon champion; Italy’s Nadia Ejjafini (pb: 68:27) and Latvia’s Jelena Prokopcuka (pb: 68:43).
In the Portuguese field are Ana Dulce Felix (pb: 68:32), 4th in 2011 New York City Marathon and 2nd in 2011 Lisbon Half Marathon; Jessica Augusto (pb: 69:13), 2010 European Cross Country champion and 2010 European 10000m bronze medallist; Sara Moreira (pb: 73.46 - 70:08 in South Shields), 2010 European 5000m bronze medalist; and Marisa Barros (pb: 69:41), 6th in 2009 IAAF World Championship marathon, 3rd in 2011 Yokohama marathon.
The elite field will be contested alongside the 35,000 mass race who will cross the bridge over Tagus river (the elite athletes compete on another course, totally flat, all along the river).
António Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF