Tag Archives: Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon

Romanenko and Vrabcova-Nyvltova take honors at Karlovy Vary Half Marathon

Roman Romanenko and Eva Vrabcova-Nyvltova cruised to victories at the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Saturday (19).

Vrabcova-Nyvltova, who set a new Czech half marathon record of 1:11:01 at the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon earlier this year, lived up to her favourite’s status in this race, leading from the start en route to a 1:11:54 win, well clear of Ukraine’s Olha Kotovska, who finished second in 1:16:16. Kristyna Dvorakova, another Czech, was third in 1:17:46.

Eva Vrabcova-Nyvltova winning the Karlovy Vary Half Marathon (Organisers)

“I didn’t have any target finishing time in mind, but even so it was tough right from the start,” the winner said. “I was running alone, there was a strong wind and I didn’t appreciate seeing all the guys run past me.”

The men’s race was a battle between Ukraine and Spain. As the race progressed the fastest runner group gradually thinned out leaving Romanenko and Houssame Bennabou at the helm. At the 14th kilometre, Romanenko cranked up the pace, leaving Bennabou struggling to keep up.

“I felt good and told myself I’d try to go for it,” Romanenko said. “I believed I was capable of maintaining my pace right until the finish and am pleased I managed to do it.”

He forged on to take the win in 1:03:58, with Bennabou second in 1:04:16. Ukrainian Serhiy Lebid was nearly another minute back, finished third in 1:05:08.

The race is part of EuroHeroes, a new initiative by organisers RunCzech in partnership with European Athletics to celebrate European running stars and promote active lifestyles in Europe. The project’s launch limited the elite fields to runners from Europe.

Rungaru and Kipkirui favourites at Prague Half Marathon

Kenyans James Rungaru and Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui will start as favourites at the 20th edition of the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Labelroad race, on Saturday (7).

The course, which winds through the historical heart of the Czech capital, is notoriously fast, evidenced last year when Joyciline Jepkosgei broke the world record with a sizzling 1:04:52 run, while picking up world records for 10km (30:04), 15km (45:37) and 20km (1:01:25) en route. While the latter two are now considered world bests and Jepkosgei has gone on to further improve the 10km and half marathon marks, her performance was nonetheless one of the most memorable road running achievements in recent memory.

The men’s course record is fast too. Atsedu Tsegay clocked 58:47 to win the 2012 edition, still the seventh fastest performance in history and Ethiopian national record. The 27-year-old returns to Prague hoping to bounce back into sub-one hour territory for the first time since 2013. He showed reasonably good form last month in Lisbon, where he clocked 1:00:28 in windy conditions to finish fifth in the Portuguese capital.

But it will be 25-year-old Kenyan Rungaru who brings the strongest credentials and form to the start line on Saturday. Four weeks ago, Runguru clocked 59:37 to win the City Pier City Half Marathon at The Hague, his first dip into sub-one hour waters.

Justus Kangogo meanwhile is the fastest in the field at 59:31 set in last year’s Rome-Ostia race. He was sixth in the same contest last month in 1:01:02.

Others to watch include Josphat Tanui who returns with purpose after finishing second both here last year in 1:00:38 and in Usti Nad Labem, some 90 kilometres to the north, with a 59:22 personal best.

Meanwhile, Benard Kimeli is looking to move his good fortunes in Prague up in distance. Last September the 22-year-old won the Birell Prague 10km in 27:10, the fastest performance in the world in 2017. he made his half marathon debut in at the RAK Half in Ras Al Khaimah in February, clocking 1:00:16 for eighth.

Geoffrey Ronoh, 35, also has sub-60 minute credentials, but his 59:45 lifetime best came four years ago.

On the women’s side, the favourite role falls on Kipkirui, after her notable 2018 start. In February, the 23-year-old clocked 1:05:07 at the RAK Half to become the fifth fastest ever over the distance, yet finished no better than third in that high quality race. That performance wasn’t a one-off. In January she clocked 1:06:48 to finish second in Houston.

Her compatriot Joan Melly Chelimo is also expected to challenge. The 27-year-old was fourth in Ras Al Khaimah in 1:05:37, landing her at No. 8 on the all-time performers list.

They’ll be challenged by 2015 winner Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia, the runner-up here last year in 1:06:14. That performance remains the 27-year-old’s lifetime best but she’s illustrated strong form in 2018 after a fourth place finish in the Dubai Marathon where she clocked 2:19:53, finishing fifth.