Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese can expect tough opposition from a talented Kenyan contingent as well a rival closer to home at the Hervis Prague Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on 6 April, after the race organisers announced more of their elite field on Tuesday (26).
Tadese’s compatriot Teklemariam Medhin’s confidence for his debut at the Half Marathon distance should be sky high after an excellent performance at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz on Sunday, where he finished with a bronze medal.
This quality of that performance suggests that an impressive debut is on the cards and his other credentials include seventh place in the London 2012 Olympic Games 10000m final.
The impressive Kenyan entry includes three men with sub-60 minute personal bests, in addition to the World record holder Tadese.
The most prominent of this trio is Philemon Limo, who won the Hervis Prague Half Marathon with what was then a course record of 59:30 two years ago, which is still his best.
In 2012, he was third in this race in 60:03 and is a familiar face on the Prague running scene over other distances, winning the Mattoni 10km in 2011, with 27:34 and he was third when running his marathon debut in the capital in last year in 2:09:25.
The athlete entered with the second fastest personal best behind Tadese is not Limo but another Kenyan: Pius Kirop. He ran 59:25 when placing fourth in the Berlin Half Marathon last year and produced another fine Half Marathon performance later in 2012 that year, finishing fourth in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.
Kirop was only ten seconds away from the bronze medal position in a race dominated again by Tadese. Daniel Chebii is the third Kenyan with a prestigious best of below one hour, boasting a time of 59:49 to his name and Henry Kiplagat is only a fraction outside that benchmark after clocking 60:01 in Prague a year ago for second place.
Prague’s world class course record is 58:47, set by Ethiopia’s Atsedu Tsegay 12 months ago.