Defending champion Wangari will be facing strong competition when the quest for world record begins on Sunday 17 September.
When the third CPH Half race edition gets underway on Sunday 17 September, we will for sure witness a strong elite field with the potential to smash records in both the men’s and the women’s race.
While the men’s field will be targeting nothing short of a new world record, the female elite will be in scope for a time below 1.08 minutes, which would delete the course record.
The quest for world record
A strong quartet consisting of last year’s winner James Mwangi Wangari, Geoffery Yegon with a season best of 59:56, Breaking2 project pacer Alex Oliotiptip Korio and Leonard Barsoton, who finished second at the World Cross Country Championships, will all be chasing the current world record of 58.23 minutes.
“It is difficult to pick the biggest favourite. A total of 5 runners have run under the magical 60 minutes, but especially these four stand out. If they are able to push each other once the pacers drop out there is definitely a chance for getting a new world record,” so Henrik Paulsen, Sports Director in Sparta Athletics and Running and responsible for the elite field at the Copenhagen Half Marathon.
A closer look at the elite athlete entry list shows lots of interesting names. Especially the German record holder on the marathon distance, Arne Gabius, with a PB as good as 62.09 minutes on the half marathon distance shall be interesting to watch.
Historic strong female field
On the female side, the elite field is bigger than ever and featured by a strong trio, who stand out from the rest. A trio looking strong enough to set a new course record, Birgid Jepchirchir, Fancy Chemutai and Eunice Chebichii Chumba will be targeting the current course record of 68.00 minutes, which was set last year by Hiwot Gebrekidan Gebremaryam.
“We have the most competitive female elite field ever this year and on top of that they will have male pacers, so the possibility of a really fast time is definitely there. We are not counting on a new female world record but the setting and elite field are good enough to break the course record,” so Henrik Paulsen.
Facts about the male favourites
James Mwangi Wangari, KEN
23 years old, Kenyan James Mwangi Wangari won the Copenhagen Half Marathon in 2016. Clocking a 27.15 10 km split and a 59.07 win, he not only improved the race record by 7 seconds, but also set the fastest 10km road race time that year and the 9th fastest ever. This year he has planned his entire season to target a second win at the CPH Half.
Leonard Barsoton, KEN
Having competed mainly in cross country and track events, this 22-year-old Kenyan is a blank sheet when it comes to the half marathon distance. Earlier this year, however, he took second at the World Cross Country Championships – one of the most difficult races to win – just seconds behind the 2014 World Half Marathon Championships winner. Furthermore, he has done an impressive 7.52,33 over the 3,000 metres.
Geoffery Yegon, KEN
Of the four favorites, this 29-year-old Kenyan is the only one to have run under 60 minutes already this year, which he did back in march in the Netherlands with a time of 59:56. Geoffrey was a part of the very fast CPH Half 2016 last year, where he came in ninth place in a time of 60.26. With a great season best, it will be exciting to see how well he can perform on the fast course in Copenhagen.
Alex Oloitiptip Korio, KEN
After having demonstrated how fast he can run in Copenhagen when he came in second in 2015, Alex Oliotiptip returns to the Copenhagen Half Marathon. In May, this 26-year-old was a part of the Nike breaking2 project, where he paced Eliud Kipchoge smoothly in an attempt to break the two hour marathon barrier. This indicates that he must be in absolute top shape and ready to chase a new personal best, as the athletes for the Breaking2 project were tested thoroughly before being handpicked as pacers.
Facts about the female favourites
Birgid Jepchirchir Kosgei, KEN
23 years old and from Kenya, Bigrid Kosgei has registered merely 3 official race times – but they are quick. During this year she has clocked 67.35 at a half marathon and 32.02 on a 10 km. Last year she finished a marathon in 2:24.45 hours.
Fancy Chemutai, KEN
22 years old and from Kenya, Chemutai is the woman who boasts the fastest personal best of 1:06:58 on the half marathon, and she is currently in absolute top shape. Fancy tested her shape in the preparations for the CPH Half by clocking 30:06 on a 10K in Prague – a time, which was a mere 2 seconds from the world record – but had to see herself beaten by a new world record time of 29:43. In this race, Fancy also set a new personal best on the 5K in a time of 14:45.
Eunice Chebichii Chumba, BRN
24-years old and from Bahrain. She was the runner up last year in Copenhagen in the time of 68.04, which still is her personal best on the half marathon distance. On the marathon distance she has run as fast as 2.24.27, which she did earlier this year in Rotterdam
Eliteløbet kan følges på søndag den 17. september fra kl. 11.15 på cphhalf.dk, i CPH Half appen og på DR TV og dr.dk.