By SK Running,
Half Marathon world record holders Zersenay Tadese (Eritrea), Moses Kipsiro (Uganda) along with defending champion Florence Kiplagat (Kenya) and Meseret Hailu (Ethiopia) interacted with media at Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (ADHM) 2015 Media Centre in New Delhi on Thursday.
Zersenay, one of the senior and most experienced athletes is ready to face the challenge from other competitors vying for the title. The first Eritrean to win an Olympic medal, he has to his credit six world titles – four half marathon wins and one 20km and one cross country in different events.
Currently training hard for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Tadese has completed half marathons in under 60 minutes ten times and is a tough contender. Talking on the sidelines of ADHM 2015, Zersenay Tadse said “I am happy to be in good shape for the ADHM 2015 and have been training well for the event. While my forte is 10,000m, I look forward to giving it my best at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2015”.
Another strong contender in the men’s category is Moses Kipsiro (Uganda). He fondly remembers his two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, Delhi (2010) in the 5000m and 10,000m category.
He also recently won gold in the 10,000m category in Glasgow last year. He has a bronze medal from the 2007 WC 5000m and a silver and bronze medal from WC cross country in 2009 and 2010. Earlier this year, he won the first half marathon in Great Scottish Run easily by clocking 62:18.
Taking pride about his gold medals at the Commonwealth Games 2010, Moses Kipsiro said, “I am delighted to be back at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium where I won gold medals during the Commonwealth Games in 2010.
I am motivated by new timing records at running events and look forward to newer records in the current edition of Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.”
In the International Elite Women’s Category, current record Holder and defending champion Florence Kiplagat is geared up to give her best and win the title by breaking her own record set at Barcelona in 2014.
She shocked the world by smashing world record for the half marathon by 38 seconds and finishing in 1:05:12 and later in this year she broke her own world record on the same course at the Barcelona Half Marathon.
Commenting on if she will win again this time, Kiplagat said, “I am motivated to complete the half marathon in under 65 minutes and am working hard to achieve my career best feat.” Being a mother to two daughters and a businesswoman back home, she insists, “Discipline is the key to success at any sport. I wake up at 5 am every morning and start training at 6:15 am after checking my business emails. I always tell my kids to respect me and ensure that they are disciplined from the very beginning of their lives”.
Competing with Kiplagat is Meseret Hailu who has defeated her in 2012 to win the Egmond half marathon.
Before Amsterdam marathon, Meseret Hailu traveled to Kavarna (Bulgaria) for the World Half Marathon Championships where she surprised everybody by winning the gold medal in hot and humid circumstances.
After winning the gold, she went on to win the Amsterdam Marathon by clocking 2:21:09 and in 2013 started her season in style by running an Ethiopian Record of 66:56 in the RAK Half Marathon, which placed her 10th on the all-time lists.
Last year she participated in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon but failed to achieve a podium finish. Responding to media queries, Hailu said,” I had an injury earlier from which I’m recuperating very well and I am hopeful of a faster run”. She also added that half marathons are tougher to run than full marathons as half marathons require more intensity and push you to the extreme.”
The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon course record currently stands at 59:06 set by Ethiopian Guye Adola in 2015 and the women’s record is by Kenya’s Mary Keitany at 66:54 in 2009.