Kochi: Over 16,000 participants, including defending champions Bernard Kipyego and Helah Kiprop of Kenya, will take part in the Cochin International Half Marathon to be flagged off from Marine Drive here on Sunday.
Kipyego, a silver-medallist at the World Half Marathon Championships and a full marathon silver medallist at the Beijing Olympics, won last year's event in a timing of 62.54 minutes.
"Since then, Kipyego has won the Amsterdam Marathon in 2014 and is in wonderful shape," according to elite athlete coordinator Edgar de Veer.
"Kipyego will be looking forward to clock a time close to his personal best of 59.10."
Among the well-known names participating are last year's Mumbai Marathon winner Jackson Kiprop of Uganda, Kenyan Eliud Tarus, Ethiopia's Solomon Deksisa, Sahlesilassie Nigussie and Adugna Takele Bikila.
In the women's section, Helah Kiprop will be looking to improve on her last year's winning time of 71.54 and will have to face stiff challenge from Ethiopians Betelhem Moges, winner of the Amsterdam Marathon 2014 and Tadelech Bekele.
Helah, who leads the women's field, is one of the best Half Marathon runners in the world.
Besides the Half Marthon, small runs-- 21km, 10km, seven km and 4 km will also be held.
Cricketer Harbhajan Singh and Malayalam actor Mohanlal, who are the brand ambassadors of the second edition, will also be participating.
Police will be posted all along the marathon route to provide sufficient security.