Previews26 Mar 2022

Obiri takes on Chepngeno and Gemechu in Istanbul


Rodgers Kwemoi, Hellen Obiri and Daniel Mateiko in Istanbul (© Spor Istanbul)

Hellen Obiri is back in Turkey for the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon where strong elite fields have been assembled for the World Athletics Elite Label road race on Sunday (27).

The world cross-country and two-time world 5000m champion from Kenya is one of six women in the field with a sub-67-minute PB. Meanwhile, fellow Kenyans Daniel Mateiko and Rodgers Kwemoi – whose PBs are just four seconds apart – lead the men’s field. The races will be live streamed on the official website for the race.

Last year Obiri finished third in Istanbul in 1:04:51 – the fastest debut half marathon in history. Since then she has reduced her PB to 1:04:22 at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon and she’s ready for another fast race this weekend.

“If weather conditions and pacemaking are good then I will try to break my personal best,” said the 32-year-old. “Whenever I come to such a race it is my goal to run well and improve my time. I am in much better form now than I was before Ras Al Khaimah. The course record will be a tough challenge, but we have a very strong field, so we will definitely give it a try.”

She’ll face stiff opposition in Istanbul. Fellow Kenyan Vicoty Chepngeno has won 11 of her past 12 half marathons. Her most recent victory came in Houston earlier this year, where she set a lifetime best of 1:05:03. One month later, she reduced her 10km PB to 30:14.

Tsehay Gemechu, winner of last year’s Copenhagen Half Marathon with a PB of 1:05:08, appears to be Obiri’s strongest opponent. The 23-year-old is a formidable competitor at this distance, having won four of her five half marathons to date.

Nigsti Haftu, who has a 1:06:17 PB and recently won the Paris Half Marathon, should also be in contention, as should Bekelech Gudeta, who finished eighth at the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships and last year set a PB of 1:06:54 in Istanbul.

Yasemin Can has contested just three half marathons to date, but has a PB of 1:06:20 and has proven herself to be a strong opponent when winning numerous continental titles.

Daniel Mateiko and Rodgers Kwemoi are used to running alongside one another, as they are training partners, based in Kaptagat where they also train with Eliud Kipchoge. Given their closely matched PBs of 58:26 and 58:30 respectively, Mateiko and Kwemoi will likely be side by side for most of Sunday’s race, where the course record of 59:35 could come under threat.

“I am now in better form than I was in Ras Al Khaimah,” said Kwemoi of the race where he set his PB.

Two other runners in the field have sub-60-minute PBs: Kenyans Josphat Tanui (59:22) and Edmond Kipngetich (59:41).

A year ago the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon was one of very few international races that went ahead during the pandemic. 4000 runners participated under strict hygiene regulations. Now the organisers of the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon are proud to announce that the race bounced back: Including races at shorter distances, more than 10,000 runners have registered for this year’s edition. About 8000 of them will run the half marathon.

Elite field

Hellen Obiri (KEN) 1:04:22
Vicoty Chepngeno (KEN) 1:05:03
Tsehay Gemechu (ETH) 1:05:08
Nigsti Haftu (ETH) 1:06:17
Yasemin Can (TUR) 1:06:20
Bekelech Gudeta (ETH) 1:06:54
Pauline Esikon (KEN) 1:07:15
Stella Rutto (ROU) 1:07:45
Ayinadis Teshome (ETH) 1:08:18
Daisy Kimeli (KEN) 1:08:34
Medhin Gebreslassie (ETH) 1:08:38
Ludwina Chepngetich (KEN) 1:10:34
Moira Stewartova (CZE) 1:11:08
Fatma Karasu (TUR) 1:11:30
Kristina Hendel (CRO) 1:11:34

Daniel Mateiko (KEN) 58:26
Rodgers Kwemoi (KEN) 58:30
Josphat Tanui (KEN) 59:22
Edmond Kipngetich (KEN) 59:41
Hillary Kipchumba (KEN) 1:00:01
Vestus Chemjor (KEN) 1:00:47
Moses Too (KEN) 1:00:56
Philimon Kiptoo (KEN) 1:01:47
Daniel Kiprotich (KEN) 1:02:09
Gerald Vincent (KEN) 1:02:27
Ramazan Özdemir (TUR) 1:03:10

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