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Fast times were run at the Prague half marathon today

Kenyan runner Bernard Kimeli won Prague Half Marathon in men's race Saturday at 59:07, setting a new personal best, and Kenyan runner Caroline Kipkirui, who represented Kazakhstan, was best in women's competition in 1:05:44.

"I was well prepared, and I am also happy with the time," said Benard Kimeli after the race. He has improved his best record by 40 seconds compared to last year's victory.

As usual, The race was dominated by African runners mostly born in Kenya.

Kimeli was followed by Felix Kibitok and Stephen Kiprop, both Kenyan runners.

Kipkirui won ahead of Lonah Salpeter, Kenyan runner representing Israel. Lydia Njeri finished with a bronze at 1:07:52 as the first for Kenya.

Kenyan runner Fancy Chemutai, the second best woman in half marathon in the world, did not finish the race. Chemutai injured her ankle in May 2018.

Staged in one of Europe's most scenic capitals, and featuring the best Czech and international running stars, the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon is one of the most the popular, fastest and fun half marathons in the world.

 

(04/06/2019) ⚡AMP
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Prague Half Marathon

Prague Half Marathon

Start the RunCzech season with one of the biggest running events in the Central Europe! Every year the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon excites spectators with performances of elite athletes breaking records. Enjoy a course with incomparable scenery in the heart of historic Prague that follows along the Vltava river and crisscrosses five beautiful bridges. Take in majestic views of...

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America’s Amy Cragg is set to race the Prague Half on Saturday

Success for reigning USA Olympic Trials Marathon champion Amy Cragg did not come easily or quickly.  Indeed, the 35 year-old Nike Bowerman Track Club athlete nearly quit the sport before her true talent really showed through, eventually carrying her to Olympic Trials wins in both 2012 (at 10,000m) and 2016 (marathon), four USA titles, and a 2:21:42 marathon personal best.  It’s been a long, and sometimes bumpy, road.

“Definitely, I’ve made some mistakes along the way,” Cragg told Race Results Weekly in a telephone interview from Prague where she’ll be running the Sportisimo Prague International Half-Marathon on Saturday.  “I’ve learned from them and that’s kind of led me to here.  So, every once in a while I’ve looked back and I’m, like, I should have done this differently or this differently.  But, the reality is that I might not have ended up here.  I think I’m in a really good place.”

Working with coaches Jerry Schumacher and Pascal Dobert and Bowerman teammate Shalane Flanagan since the end of 2015, Cragg has blossomed into one of America’s best at 26.2 miles.  After winning the February, 2016, Marathon Trials on a brutally hot day in Los Angeles, she went on to finish ninth in the Olympic Games Marathon in Rio. 

She backed up that performance a year later with a thrilling, late-race charge at the 2017 IAAF World Championships marathon in London, taking the bronze medal (the first medal for a USA woman at those championships in the marathon since 1983), and only missing the silver by a fraction of a second. 

She recovered from her London race well, then ran the Tokyo Marathon in February, 2018, finishing third in an excellent 2:21:42.  That performance made her the fifth-fastest American of all time behind only Deena Kastor, Jordan Hasay, Flanagan and Joan Samuelson.

"I love where I’m at,” Cragg continued.  “I love my team and my coach.  Just living in Oregon, that’s been incredible.  I think overall, those rough moments, those times when I considered stopping have made me a stronger athlete.  I’m glad I went through that.  It’s hard to say that.  Those times, I think I really learned a lot from them.”

Cragg is at an unusual juncture in her career.  She hasn’t run a marathon in over a year.  She built-up for Chicago last October, but ended up withdrawing from the race after she and her coaches felt that her training hadn’t brought her to the fitness she would need to run her best.  They had intense discussions, she said, about what to do next.

“When I pulled out of Chicago last year the big talk was, OK, what do we really want to get out of the next two years?” Cragg said.  “I’ll probably be in the sport two years and reassess.  The big thing is making another Olympic team and trying to perform well in Tokyo.  Everything we do from here on out, that’s the goal to make that team and we’ve been working back from there.”

Cragg decided not to do a spring marathon this year.  Instead, she worked with her Bowerman teammates Shelby Houlihan, Marielle Hall, Courtney Frerichs, and Karissa Schweizer to get ready for the USATF Cross Country Championships last February where she finished fifth in her first national cross country championships in nine years. 

A month later she ran the special Road to Gold test event in Atlanta where she was able to run on the 2020 Olympic Trials course.  Uncontested, she covered the 8-mile route in 43:23 and won by a minute.  She told Race Results Weekly that the Atlanta race was essentially the kick-off of her Trials training.

“I felt pretty good,” Cragg said.  “I think I’m in a good position and I’m pretty excited to get into the bigger miles.  For me, that makes a huge difference.  I feel ready to start that, which is exciting for me.”

Saturday’s race in Prague is the next logical step on Cragg’s long journey to Atlanta next February for the marathon trials and Tokyo for the Olympics next August.  On Prague’s flat, record-eligible course Cragg wants to race hard with the goal of improving herself as a marathoner.

(04/05/2019) ⚡AMP
by David Monti
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Prague Half Marathon

Prague Half Marathon

Start the RunCzech season with one of the biggest running events in the Central Europe! Every year the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon excites spectators with performances of elite athletes breaking records. Enjoy a course with incomparable scenery in the heart of historic Prague that follows along the Vltava river and crisscrosses five beautiful bridges. Take in majestic views of...

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Kenyan´s Stephen Kiprop will lead the men´s field at Prague Half Marathon

The field of 11,500 will include nine men with personal bests under one hour and two of the fastest women in history.

Stephen Kiprop, who won this year’s RAK Half Marathon in a world-leading 58:42, leads the men’s field. His challengers will include defending champion Bernard Kimeli, but any one of a dozen others could step up to the top of the podium.

Sondre Moen will return to Prague. The Norwegian is one of the top Europeans with a PB of 59:48. He set his 10km PB of 27:55 in Prague in 2017 and then three months later set a European marathon record of 2:05:48 in Fukuoka.

After dealing with injuries and health problems in 2018, he returned to action last month and set a national 5km record of 13:37 in Monaco.

The race will feature the second and sixth-fastest women in history, Kenya’s Fancy Chemutai and Caroline Kipkirui, who have respective PBs of 1:04:52 and 1:05:07.

(03/14/2019) ⚡AMP
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Prague Half Marathon

Prague Half Marathon

Start the RunCzech season with one of the biggest running events in the Central Europe! Every year the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon excites spectators with performances of elite athletes breaking records. Enjoy a course with incomparable scenery in the heart of historic Prague that follows along the Vltava river and crisscrosses five beautiful bridges. Take in majestic views of...

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Former World Half Marathon bronze medalist Fancy Chemutai will compete in her second half marathon in Prague

Fancy Chemutai, who injured her ankle in May 2018, announced her return to action in January, finishing second at the Houston Half Marathon in a time of 66:48, and believes she will be strong enough to challenge the course record in Prague, currently held by compatriot Joyciline Jepkosgei in 64:52.

"I have been in good form for some time after the injury healed. It is a challenge for me in Prague but when I say I am back to my full potential, it means I have gauged myself. I will still fight for medals. I have sat down with my coach and I believe I have a chance to race again," said Chemutai, who currently trains in Iten.

The Kenyan, whose personal best time is 64:52, and last year's Prague runner-up Caroline Kipkirui (65:07), a Kenyan now competing for Kazakhstan, will lead Kenya's delegation to the Czech Republic capital.

However, they will also be up against strong opposition from Asian record-holder Alia Mohammed Saaeed (66:13), European 10,000m champion Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (67:55) of Israel and world marathon bronze medalist Amy Cragg from the United States (68:27).

"I have plans to run the full marathon, but the injury slowed me down," Chetumai said. "Now that I am back in action, I will discuss with the coaches and see how fast I can move to the marathon."

(03/13/2019) ⚡AMP
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Prague Half Marathon

Prague Half Marathon

Start the RunCzech season with one of the biggest running events in the Central Europe! Every year the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon excites spectators with performances of elite athletes breaking records. Enjoy a course with incomparable scenery in the heart of historic Prague that follows along the Vltava river and crisscrosses five beautiful bridges. Take in majestic views of...

more...
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The Kenyan men claimed the top nine spots at the Prague Half Marathon

In the men’s race at the Prague Half Marathon today, Benard Kimeli broke from a three-man pack in the final kilometre to claim an emphatic victory in 59:47. “I won the 10-kilometre Birell Prague Grand Prix last year, and now can add the half marathon to that,” said Kimeli, who dipped under the one-hour barrier in just his second race over the distance. He finished eighth in Ras Al Khaimah in February, clocking 1:00:16. He clocked 27:10 in that Prague 10km last year, the fastest performance in the world in 2017. “Prague really suits me and I race well here. The conditions went in our favor today and I’m really pleased that I managed to win.” Geoffrey Yegon was second in 59:56 with Peter Kwemoi third in 59:58 to round out the Kenyan podium sweep. Spots four through nine also were claimed by Kenyan runners. (04/07/2018) ⚡AMP
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Joan Melly runs 1:05:04 to win the Prague Half Marathon today, her first 5k was 14:51

Kenya’s Joan Melly won the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon clocking 1:05:04 in the Czech capital to highlight the 20th running of this IAAF Gold Label road race Saturday April 7. Melly passed the opening five kilometres in 14:51, reached 10k in 30:14 and 15 in 45:54, an ambitious pace that came back to haunt the 27-year-old Kenyan in the waning stages. Her performance nonetheless elevated her to the No. 4 position all-time with the fifth fastest run. “The first five kilometres were exceptionally fast with us running it in under 15 minutes, but I didn’t look at my watch at all, I just followed the pacemakers," said Melly, who set her previous lifetime best of 1:05:37 at the RAK Half in Ras Al Khaimah in February, where she finished fourth. "I felt my strength wane a bit towards the end, but it was still enough to break a new personal best and secure a win.” Her compatriot Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui was second in 1:06:09 followed by Worknesh Degefa from Ethiopia, the runner-up last year and winner in 2015, who clocked 1:08:10. (04/07/2018) ⚡AMP
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The Prague Half Marathon course is notoriously fast with a World Record Last Year

The 20th Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon is a thing of beauty. Not just because of our breathtaking scenery. But because of who comes out to participate. Over 11,000 runners have registered. Kenyans James Rungaru and Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui are two of the favorites racing this Saturday April 7. The course, which winds through the historical heart of the Czech capital, is notoriously fast, evidenced last year when Joyciline Jepkosgei broke the world record with a sizzling 1:04:52 run, while picking up world records for 10km (30:04), 15km (45:37) and 20km (1:01:25) en route. While the latter two are now considered world bests and Jepkosgei has gone on to further improve the 10km and half marathon marks, her performance was nonetheless one of the most memorable road running achievements in recent memory. The men's course record is fast too. Atsedu Tsegay clocked 58:47 to win the 2012 edition, still the seventh fastest performance in history and Ethiopian national record. The 27-year-old returns to Prague hoping to bounce back into sub-one hour territory for the first time since 2013. He showed reasonably good form last month in Lisbon, where he clocked 1:00:28 in windy conditions to finish fifth in the Portuguese capital. (04/05/2018) ⚡AMP
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