- Jepchirchir is the current Olympic champion
- She won the Half Marathon title at the last Championships in 2020
- The men will look to reclaim the gold after missing in 2020
Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir is looking to successfully defend her Half Marathon title at the World Road Running Championships in Riga. Jepchirchir clinched the crown at the last Championship held in 2020 in Gdynia Poland.
Jepchirchir has taken major wins at that distance since her Olympic conquest in New York (2021) and Boston (2022). Having struggled with injury through parts of last year, she bounced back to finish third at the London Marathon in April, clocking 2:18:38.
She went on to win the Great North Run half marathon on 10 September, clocking 1:06:45, and given her renowned closing speed, the women-only half marathon world record-holder – who ran 1:05:16 to win her 2020 world title in Gdynia – will prove tough to beat if she’s near her best.
“I feel good, and I feel I am in good shape. My target is to go run a good race and hopefully it can give me the title at the end,” the Olympic champion stated.
She will be joined in the field by Irine Kimais, the Kenyan 10,000m champion who finished a fine fourth at the World Championships in Budapest. The 24-year-old is the quickest in the field via her PB of 1:04:37, which she ran to claim victory at the Barcelona Half Marathon in February.
Chelimo and Relin other Kenyans in the race
Margaret Chelimo is the other Kenyan in the startlist, boasting a PB of 1:05:26, and she was a 10,000m bronze medallist at last year’s World Athletics Championships, finishing fourth in the 5000m this year in Budapest. Catherine Relin is another Kenyan name to watch, the 21-year-old setting her PB of 1:05:39 to finish third in Barcelona in February.
Ethiopia has won the women’s individual title just three times in the event’s history, but they have taken the last two team titles and will be keen to make it a third straight in Riga. Their team is led by Tsigie Gebreselama, who will be backed up by Ftaw Zeray, Yalemget Yaregal and Mestawut Fikir.
Meanwhile in the men’s race, Kenya’s charge will look to reclaim the title they lost last time out in 2020.
Kenya has won the men’s individual half marathon title 13 times in 24 previous editions and they hold strong claims of taking that tally to 14 on Sunday. They have won the men’s team title 16 times, with a 17th looking likely given the strength in their ranks.
Sub 59 men in the list
They boast a trio of sub-59-minute men in Benard Kibet, Charles Kipkurui Langat and Sabastian Sawe, while their next man, Daniel Simiu Ebenyo, is a 59:04 performer.
Kibet smashed his PB to clock 58:45 when winning the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in February and he went on to finish fifth in the 10,000m in Budapest last month, while Langat ran his PB of 58:53 to win in Barcelona in February.
Simiu is fresh from winning silver at the World Championships and should be high in confidence to bag another medal.
-Additional information courtesy of World Athletics