Moses Kibet will start as favourite at the Vidovdan Road Race 10km, an IAAF Bronze Label road race, in Brcko, Bosnia and Hercegovina, on Saturday (23) evening.
The 21-year-old Kenyan will bring some strong momentum to the northern Bosnian city, competing just one week after a solid 28:26 victory at the La Corrida de Langueux 10km in France.
He’ll be facing compatriot Ezra Kering, the winner of a 10km in Stadskanaal, Netherlands, in April, clocking 29:28. the 28-year-old has a 28:35 lifetime best from 2013.
The field also includes Derara Hurisa, who was fourth in the competitive Langueux race, clocking a personal best of 28:31. Another Ethiopian, 2:12 marathoner Fikre Workneh, is also in the field, along with Jaouad Chemlal or Morocco, a former steeplechase standout with a 28:43 personal best. In February the 24-year-old won the Castellon 10km in 29:43.
The favourite in the women’s race is Kenyan Lillian Jelagat.
The 29-year-old has been consistent this year, clocking between 32:40 and 32:57 in three races this spring. Most recently, she was second at last weekend’s Wiezoloop 10km in Wierden, Netherlands, clocking 33:50. her 31:59 personal best, set in 2013, makes her the fastest in the field.
She’ll take on her 21-year-old compatriot Daisy Cherotich, who has a 33:07 best from 2017 and 1:09:44 half marathon credentials this year.
The second fastest in the field on paper is Fatna Maraoui of Italy, although the 40-year-old produced her 32:38 lifetime best more than a decade ago. She’s still running well, more recently finishing fifth at the Milan Marathon in April.
Others who could factor in the battle for a top-five finish include Katsiaryna Karneyenka of Belarus, who clocked 33:19 earlier this month, and 29-year-old Zita Kacser of Hungary, who improved her lifetime best to 33:55 in Ciesyn, Poland, in April.
Both race records have proven difficult to beat. The men’s standard of 28:11 was set by Kenyan Gordon Mugi in 2010, but the women’s record has stood even longer. Serbian star Olivera Jevtic, a former European championships marathon silver medallist and five-time European cross country bronze medallist, clocked 32:04 back in 2008.