The top three men from last year’s Birell Prague Grand Prix will return to challenge for the IAAF Gold Label road race on Saturday (September 8) in the Czech Republic.
Defending champion Benard Kimeli will be up against fellow Kenyans whom he led to a Kenyan sweep of the men’s podium.
It was the first time in history that three men had finished inside 27:20 in the same 10km race.
The top three Kenyans in last year’s race return to Prague in devastating forms and race promises to produce fireworks if their form is anything to go by.
The IAAF World U20 Championships 10,000m gold medalist compatriot Rhonex Kipruto, third in Prague last year in 27:13, has improved on that mark in April with his 27:08 victory in the UAE Healthy Kidney 10km race in New York, recording the fastest performance in the world at that distance for eight years.
Kipruto went ahead and won the 10,000m title at the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 with a dominant run.
Kimeli, who won last year’s Birell Grand Prix in 27:10, returned to Prague earlier this year for the half marathon, which he won in a PB of 59:47.
Last year’s runners up, Mathew Kimeli finished second to Kipruto in the UAE Healthy Kidney 10km race in New York in 27:19, just eight seconds shy of the PB he set when finishing in the same position at last year’s Birell Grand Prix when he separated Kimeli and Kipruto is in the fray.
Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu threatens to break the Kenyan’s dominance. He won over 10km in Ottawa in a PB of 27:48, finishing 34 seconds ahead of Benard Kimeli, and went on to take the 10,000m silver medal at the African Championships in Abuja, Nigeria.
Belihu finished 10th in the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 at the age of 18 against formidable and experienced athletes like World and Olympic champion Mo Farah.
Athletes from Europe will be bidding to wrestle the title from Africans. Germany’s European Cup winner Richard Ringer and Belgium’s Soufiane Bouchiki are in contention after having reduced their respective 10,000m PBs to 27:36.52 and 27:41.20 respectively this year.
Britain’s Luke Traynor won against an all-European line-up at the Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon earlier this year, after improving on his 10km PB to 28:3.1.