Geoffrey Kamworor, photo by LOC/Copenhagen HM
Kibiwott Kandie, photo by RunCzech
Justin Lagat did this piece on the upcoming Istanbul Half marathon and it’s extraordinary fields!
In yet another year that is scanty of road racing opportunities and full of uncertainties, the N Kolay Istanbul half has finally managed to organize the long-awaited and a dream race for many of the road-running fans across the world. Kamworor, the immediate former world half marathon record holder with a time of 58:01 will get to compete with Kandie, the current world record holder at 57:32. It will be a race between an experienced multiple world champion against a relatively new but another big star in the making. This would have happened at the RAK half marathon in February, but the race was canceled due to the prevailing COVID 19 situation.
The half marathon race that is scheduled to happen on 4th April will also act as a national championships race for the host country and some of the top contenders from Turkey include Kaan Kigen Ozbilen who has a personal best and national record time of 59:48 and Aras Kaya with 60:51.
Other sub-60 minute runners in the race include Amedework Walelegn of Ethiopia with 58:53, Stephen Kissa of Uganda with 58:56, and Kenya’s Leonard Barsoton with 59:09.
World marathon record holder, Brigid Kosgei will be one of the big stars to watch out for in the women’s race. Besides Joan Chelimo who has a personal best time of 1:05:04, all the three other Kenyan women in this race are already on the national marathon team to represent the country in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Peres Jepchirchir who holds the women’s only half marathon world record of 1:05:06 and is the reigning world half marathon champion will be another one to watch. She happens to have the same personal best time with her compatriot Ruth Chepngetich, the reigning world marathon champion.
But, the fastest on paper is Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw with 1:04:46. Other big stars in the women’s field include Melat Kejeta of Germany ( 1:05:18), Alia Saeed Mohammed of UAE (1:06:13) Yasemin Can of Turkey (1:06:20), Bekelech Gudeta of Ethiopia ( 1:07:03), and Hiwot Gebrekidan of Ethiopia (1:07:36).