Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele and Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat have been invited at the 4th edition of the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K that will be held on Sunday 17, December in Kolkata, India.
This will be Bekele’s second time to step in India and the first time to race there having been there as an Airtel Delhi Half Marathon Ambassador.
The race promoters Procam International made this announcement today Friday (10) that they have signed the two great legends from Ethiopia and Kenya.
Bekele, widely regarded as the greatest distance runner of all time and world record holder over 10,000 and 5,000 metres will try and make amends after failing to finish the Berlin Marathon where Eliud Kipchoge took honors.
This will be the 35 year-old last race of the season and he has promised to break the course record of 1:17.16 that was set last year by Govindan Lakshaman who is India’s International distance runner.
“After my first visit to India a few years ago, as an ambassador for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, I have always wanted to run here. The TSK25K seems to be the perfect opportunity: the route is historic, the weather expected to be cool and I am hoping to set a new course record, at the very least. I look forward to running in Kolkata and hope my presence motivates people to come and run,” said Bekele.
Three-time Olympic gold medallist and 18-time world champion on the track and cross country, might also be hoping to lower the current 25km world record 1:11.18 that was set in 2012 by Dennis Kimetto from Kenya when he broke the marathon world record.
Kiplagat is a two time world champion having won at the 2009 World Cross Country Championships and the 2010 World Half Marathon Championships.
The 30 year-old is coached by Renato Canova and she is also the former world half marathon record holder. She holds a personal best of 1:22.17 over the distance that she got at the Chicago Marathon last.
The Kolkata 25K course record of 1:27.31 is held by Sudha Singh that she set in 2015 but with the caliber of Kiplagat the course record will be lowered.
“Procam International is committed to bring the best names in running to India. We have done that successfully in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi and with Kolkata going international we will leave no stones unturned to make this event truly spectacular,” said Vivek Singh, Joint Managing Director, Procam International.
He added, ” Having running legends like Bekele and Kiplagat as part of the elite line-up is an absolute honour for us and we are sure their presence will inspire and motivate runners to come and be a part of the TSK25K.”