World`s best Elite field to target course records

New Delhi: The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is all set to witness world`s best ever elite athlete field and the most competitive ever, which will include four men and women out of the top 10 of 2013 rankings, here on December 15.

According to Jos Hermens of Global Sports Communication (GSC), one of the most respected elite athlete coordinators in the world, the start line of the half marathon will see the fastest men and women of 2013.

Among the men, there will be seven out of the top 15, including last year`s World half marathon champion. Besides, the defending men`s and women`s champions and the second placed man and woman from 2012.

"We are very proud to present the best half marathon field ever in history. This elite field includes 11 men who have run under 60.00, of which four have run even below 59.00. Also present will be the world`s fastest man (Geoffrey Kipsang 58.54) and women (Lucy Kabuu 66.09, 2nd on all time rankings!) of 2013, over the half marathon distance," said Hermens.

"There will be 12 athletes who have won one or more medals at various World Championships and one World Record holder. In my opinion this shows the quality and depth of the field. On a good day, with good weather circumstances, good pacemakers and athletes, big things are possible. We feel that with this elite field it`s possible to challenge both the course records of 59.15 for men and 66.54 for women and even to look further than that," he added.

Kipsang clocked 58.54, while winning the 2013 RAK Half, and Kabuu`s timing of 66.09 is the fastest of the year and the second fastest ever.

The other fancied names in the men`s field are defending champion Edwin Kipyego, Sammy Kitwara, who has two sub-59 and sub-60 timings, Dennis Kimetto, the 25km World record holder, Wilson Kiprop, winner of the Lisbon Half and Roma Half in 2013, Leonard Langat, Daniel Chebii, Ethiopian Ghirmay Gebresealassie and Qatar`s Nicholas Kemboi, winner of the Rabat Half 2013.

Other than Kabuu, the names to watch out for in the women`s field are defending champion Wude Ayalew, Gladys Cherrono, winner of the Pragu Half 2013, Florence Kiplagat, winner of the Berlin Marathon 2013 and Meseret Hailu, World Champion 2012.