In the absence of defending champion Viola Jepchumba, Vienna City Mararthon queen Nancy Kiprop and Baringo 21km winner Lucy Cheruiyot emerge as favourites for the Mattoni Ústí nad Labem half marathon scheduled for Saturday, September 15 in the Czech Republic.
Jepchumba a Kenyan born who switched allegiance to Bahrain will not defend her title after tests carried out on the athlete between 28th August 2017 and 30th September 2017 revealed that she has been using the banned enhancing drug.
Kiprop and Cheruiyot both know the Ústí course well, having ran personal bests here last year where they pushed Jepchumba into chopping 71 seconds off the women’s mark for a new course record.
The 38-year-old Kiprop proved to have the stronger finish and got the better of her compatriot, crossing the line in second place in 1:07:22, just one second ahead of Cheruiyot.
Another contender for a podium spot is the America’s Finest City Half Marathon champion Kenya’s Diana Kipyokei, 23, based in Grand Prairie, Texas in USA as is 2011 Pan American Games 3000 meter steeplechase winner American runner Sara Hall.
Japanese runner Yuka Takashima, with a 31:33.3 in 10,000m in Palo Alto in California last year should also be in the mix along with Moldova’s Lilia Fisikovici who triumphed at the Mattoni České Budějovice Half Marathon this June.