(25-Mar) -- Six-time world champion and current world half-marathon record holder Zersenay Tadese will take on the flat, fast course at the 15th Hervis Prague International Half-Marathon on Saturday, April 6. Organizers hope that the 31 year-old Eritrean, who will be making his first run in Prague will break his own world record of 58:23 set in Lisbon in 2010.
"Now Carlo Capalbo has to arrange some miracle with weather," joked elite athlete coordinator Jana Moberly in an e-mail, referring to the event's gregarious organizing committee chairman.
Moberly has good reason to be optimistic. At last year's race, despite chilly temperatures and winds strong enough to tilt the finish structure, Ethiopia's Atsedu Tsegay ran the the fastest half-marathon of 2012, 58:47, and dethroned Haile Gebrselassie as the Ethiopian record holder.
At this year's race, Tadese will be joined by his training partner Teklemariam Medhin, who won the bronze medal at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships yesterday, to add to the silver he won in the same championships in 2010. Medhin has run 27:16.69 for 10,000m and will be making his half-marathon debut.
Also competing, according to Moberly, will be three Kenyans with sub-one hour half-marathons to their credit: Philemon Limo (59:30), Pius Maiyo (59:25), and Daniel Chebii (59:49). Moberly pointed out that Limo was the first runner to break one hour in Prague; it was his course record of 59:30 that Tsegay broke last year.
"We have never had such a strong field, and I am sure we will break records again this year," Capalbo said through a statement.
The women's entry list features four women with sub-69 minute personal bests, and another seven who have broken 72 minutes. The fastest woman in the field is Ethiopia's Worknesh Degafa, who ran a personal best 1:07:49 at the Roma-Ostia Half-Marathon last February. The race's other speedsters are Kenyans Gladys Cherono (1:08:18) and Isabella Ochichi (1:08:38), and Ethiopian Waganesh Mekasha (1:08:48).
Because the event is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, the field is diverse by country. The men's elite field has 31 athletes from 11 countries, while the women's boasts 23 competitors from 8 countries.
The complete elite fields are displayed, below:
1, Zersenay TADESE, 8-Feb-1982, ERI, 0:58:23
2, Philemon Kimeli LIMO, 2-Aug-1985, KEN, 0:59:30
3, Pius Maiyo KIROP, 8-Jan-1990, KEN, 0:59:25
4, Daniel Kipchumba CHEBII, 28-May-1985, KEN, 0:59:49
5, Teklemariam MEDHIN, 24-Jun-1989, ERI,
6, Henry KIPLAGAT, 16-Dec-1992, KEN, 1:00:01
7, Andualem BELAY, 5-Apr-1992, ETH, 1:00:10
8, Stephen TUM, 12-Jun-1986, KEN, 1:00:58
9, Abere KASSW, 8-Dec-1994, ETH, 1:01:12
10, Tesfaalem GEBREAREGAWI, 13-Nov-1995, ETH, 1:01:07
11, Daniel Kinyua WANJIRU, 26-May-1992, KEN, 1:01:10
12, Amanuel MESEL, 29-Dec-1990, ERI, 1:01:20
13, Cutbert NYASANGO, 17-Sep-1982, ZIM, 1:00:26
14, Kenta IINUMA, 1-Feb-1988, JAP, 1:02:09
15, Stefano LA ROSA, 28-Sep-1985, ITA, 1:02:15
16, Dmitriy SAFRONOV, 9-Oct-1981, RUS, 1:04:04
17, Thomas James LOKOMWA, 26-Dec-1987, KEN, 1:04:22
18, Robert STEFKO, 28-May-1968, CZE, 1:00:29
19, Jiri HOMOLAC, 25-Feb-1990, CZE, 1:07:12
20, Aki NUMELA, 30-May-1985, FIN, 1:07:46
21, Robert KRUPICKA, 10-Nov-1978, CZE, 1:06:50
22, Mulugeta SERBESSA, 22-Aug-1971, CZE, 1:05:16
23, John KIPSANG, 1-Jan-1968, KEN, 1:01:21
24, Tigabu GEBREMARYAM, 3-Nov-1990, ETH, 1:02:26
25, Amos MITEI, 10-Mar-1992, KEN,
26, Jozef URBAN, 24-Jan-1986, SVK, 1:09:28
27, Magnus HANSON, 5-Aug-1976, SWE, 1:09:40
28, Milan JANOUSEK, 23-Jan-1991, CZE, 1:10:19
29, Jiri ZAK, 7-Apr-1971, CZE, 1:09:16
41, Fikadu HAFTU, 21-Feb-1994, ETH,
42, Teshome MEKONEN, 5-Aug-1995, ETH,
49, Vasyl MATVIYCHUK, 13-Jan-1982, UKR, 1:02:13
1, Worknesh DEGEFA, 28-Oct-1990, ETH, 1:07:49
2, Gladys CHERONO, 12-May-1983, KEN, 1:08:18
3, Agnes Katunge MUTUNE, 26-Jun-1986, KEN, 1:09:04
4, Tadelech BEKELE , 11-Apr-1991, ETH, 1:09:31
5, Edinah KWAMBAI, 1-Jan-1975, KEN, 1:10:36
6, Azusa NOJIRI, 6-Jun-1982, JAP, 1:10:53
7, Isabella OCHICHI, 28-Oct-1979, KEN, 1:08:38
8, Waganesh MEKASHA, 16-Jan-1992, ETH, 1:08:48
9, Pamela Chesopich LISORENG, 5-Aug-1988, KEN, 1:11:33
10, Ehitu KIROS, 13-Jan-1988, ETH, 1:11:58
11, Lucy Wambui MURIGI, 7-Jul-1985, KEN, 1:11:51
12, Eugenia DANILOVA, 10-Aug-1981, RUS, 1:13:03
13, Rebecca CHEPTEGEI, 22-Feb-1991, UGA, 1:13:05
14, Cristina Alexandra FRUMUZ, 19-Feb-1988, ROM, 1:13:39
15, Petra KAMINKOVA, 19-Jan-1973, CZE, 1:12:17
16, Mary Wangari, WANJOHI, 1-Oct-1982, KEN, 1:13:48
17, Ivana SEKYROVA, 13-Oct-1971, CZE, 1:15:24
18, Zsofia ERDELYI, 10-Dec-1987, HUN, 1:16:59
19, Petra PASTOROVA, 6-Jan-1977, CZE, 1:17:18
20, Anezka DRAHOTOVA, 22-Jul-1995, CZE, 1:19:33
21, Radka CHURANOVA, 3-Jun-1972, CZE, 1:18:21
22, Eva VAIL, 11-Sep-1984, CZE, 1:19:49
23, Sarka MACHACKOVA, 15-Sep-1983, CZE, 1:24:35
PHOTO: Zersenay Tadese after winning the 2010 Giro Di Castelbuono (photo by David Monti for Race Results Weekly)