Tirunesh Dibaba in action at the London Marathon (© Getty Images)
Tirunesh Dibaba, considered by many to be the world’s greatest female distance runner, will run the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Sunday 21 October.
The Ethiopian has won three Olympic gold medals and five world titles on the track as well as four world cross country titles as a senior. She is also the 5000m world record-holder.
In the wake of her third-place finish at last month’s Berlin Marathon – her third run inside 2:19 over the classic distance in the past 18 months – she will be chasing the Ethiopian half marathon record and the course record, in addition to a win which comes with a cheque for USD $27,000.
Her compatriot Ababel Yeshaneh – who has been previously announced as running in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon – reduced the Ethiopian half marathon record to 1:05:46 in Copenhagen on the same day that Dibaba was running in the German capital over the full marathon distance.
The Delhi course record has stood since 2009 at 1:06:54 to Kenya’s Mary Keitany but with Dibaba and Yeshaneh in this year’s race, along with a host of other strong runners, this standard must surely be in danger.
“After Berlin, I felt good about myself and felt I could still run fast over the half marathon despite the short recovery time,” said the 33-year-old Dibaba. “I didn’t achieve my aims completely in Berlin, although I certainly have to be pleased with my performance, because I went there to win and run faster than my time of 2:18:55. There is no better race than the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon to make my return to racing. I am excited about coming to India and I look forward to make my presence felt.”
Meanwhile, Dibaba’s compatriot and fellow Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet has been added to the men’s elite field.
The winner of two World Championships 5000m medals and an Olympic bronze medal will head to Delhi in fine form for his half marathon debut. In his last race, at the IAAF Diamond League 5000m final in Brussels on 31 August, he ran 12:45.82 for second place and moved up to fifth on the world all-time list for the event.
Organisers for the IAAF