Kenya’s Stephen Kiprop became the talk of the town when he denied the defending champion Barselius Kipyego a chance to write history when he thrashed him at the 8th edition of the Mattoni Usti nad Labem Half Marathon that was held on Saturday in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic.
The 19 year-old took control of the race at the 12km mark and he never looked back as he was chased by Kipyego who could not march his pace denying him the chance for the third title as he cut the tape in a new personal best of 59:41.
The defending champion and race course recorder of 59:15 that he set in last year’s edition crossed the line in second in 1:00.25 with Abel Kipchumba closing a Kenyan podium finish in 1:00.39.
- Stephen Kiprop (KEN) 59:41
- Barselius Kipyego (KEN) 1:00.25
- Abel Kipchumba (KEN) 1:00.39
- Hicham Amghar (MAR)1:01.15
- Amos Kurgat (KEN) 1:01:28
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.
Kenya’s Barselius Kipyego will defend his title at the 8th edition of the Mattoni Usti nad Labem Half Marathon that will be jeld on Saturday in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic.
The 25 year-old smashed his own course record of 59:15 that he had set in 2016 with a new course of 59:14.
Kipyego battled with Joseph Tanui from Kenya and the late Ismail Juma from Tanzania who passed on after this race through a tragic road accident in his home of Tanzania.
The Kenyan who ran the fifth fastest time and is also targeting to write history as the first man to win the race three times, but he will not have it easy as he will face Ethiopia’s finest Guye Adola and Kenyans Josephat Tanui and Albert Kangogo.
Adola who came to the lime light at the 2014 IAAF world Half Marathon where he won an individual bronze medal with a personal best of 59:21 and went on to lower his time at the 2014 Delhi Half Marathon in 59:06 will also be chasing his first title in Czech.
The 27 year-old Ethiopian is remembered when he debut at the 2017 Berlin Marathon challenging Eliud Kipchoge as he came second with a finishing time of 2:03.46 that made him the fastest marathon-debut ever.
Tanui on his part carries a personal best of 59:22 that he got at this race last year when he finished second behind Kipyego, will also be battling to unseat kipyego and the Ethiopian as he seeks to lift his first title over the distance.
Another title contender is Kangogo who carries on his shoulder a personal best of 59:25 that he got at the 2017 Kobenhavn in Denmark.
Japan will also bring along a strong team to Ústí nad Labem headed by Kenji Yamamoto who has a a personal best of 1:01.47 that he got at Yamaguchi, while the United States will be represented by Jared Ward,30, who comes to this race with a personal best of 1:01.42.