Ethiopia's Andamlak Belihu and Tsehay Gemechu are ready to defend their men´s and women´s Airtel Delhi Half Marathon titles
Ethiopia's Andamlak Belihu and Tsehay Gemechu will return to defend their men's and women's titles respectively in the 15th edition of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on October 20.
Belihu won men's half marathon title of this prestigious IAAF Gold Label Road Race last year in 59:18, just missing out on the course record of 59:06 which remained since 2014 in the name of compatriot Guye Adola.
"Immediately after last year's race I said that I was going to come back to Delhi in 2019 as I had unfinished business with the course record and I am keeping my promise," commented Belihu, who will still be just 20 on race day.
He returned to India in May earlier this year to also win the TCS World 10K title in Bengaluru, another IAAF Gold Label Road Race promoted by Procam International.
Last year, Belihu had to work hard to hold off his fellow Ethiopian Amdework Walelegn to win by four seconds. Walelegn will also return with the ambition of going one better in this year's race.
No less than eight men in the ADHM 2019 elite field have run under the world class benchmark of one hour but much of the attention will be on a man who has yet to run the distance, Hagos Gebrhiwet.
Gebrhiwet had planned to make his half marathon debut in Delhi last year but a late bout of illness curtailed his training. However, he will stand on the start line this year. He won a bronze in Rio Olympics 5000m race.
The fastest man in Delhi this year will be Erick Kiptanui. The Kenyan notched up two impressive half marathon victories in 2018 when winning at high-quality Lisbon and Berlin races, coming home in the German capital in a personal best 58:42, and he is currently equal seventh on the world all-time list.
Kiptanui has been concentrating mainly on the track but had a solid win at the Barcelona Half Marathon earlier in the year.
In the women's elite section last year, Gemechu made a huge impact in her debut over the distance when she set an ADHM women's course record of 66:50 and in 2019 she has shown it was no fluke with a string of sparkling performances both on the roads and the track, including taking the African Games 10,000m title.
The third and fourth-placed women from the ADHM 2018 also return with Ethiopia's Zeineba Yimer and Kenya's Stacy Ndiwa coming back to do battle.
The fastest woman in the ADHM 2019 elite field will be Caroline Kipkirui. The Kenyan-born runner, who now competes under the Kazakhstan flag, set a personal best of 65:07 in the 2018 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon.
posted Wednesday September 25th