Learn about the favorites and the profiles among the elite field at the CPH Half 2018.


Featured by a staggering 14 men with personal bests faster than 60 minutes, the men’s field is headlined by Abraham Cheroben (Bahrain) and Jorum Okombo (Kenya), who both dipped under 59.00 minutes at last year’s CPH Half.

Returning to exchange silver for gold, Okombo is determined to win and to improve his PB. However, the formidable depth of the men’s field makes it impossible to point out any safe winners, and both the new African 10,000 metres Champion Jemal Yimer Mekonnen (Ethiopia) and the debuting middle-distance track athlete Yomif Kejelcha (Ethiopia) will be very exciting contendors to the pre-favorites.

Boasting five women with personal bests below 68.00 minutes, the female elite field is led by last year’s runner up Joan Chelimo Melly (Kenya), who has shown that she belongs to the very top athletes on the distance.

Her personal best of 65:04 minutes was set this year, placing her only 14 seconds from the world record. Joan has announced that she will be engaging in a serious attempt to target the world record – an attempt in which she will be joined by achieved long-distance runner Ruth Chepngetich (Kenya) who has a personal best of 66.19 minutes.

Everything is set for a phenomenal race that could go on to become the race of the decades.


Male elite profiles

Abraham Cheroben (Bahrain)

Age: 25 years
PB: 58.40 (Copenhagen 2017)
SB: 60.22 (Valencia 24 March)

During the recent years, Abraham Cheroben has proved himself to be one of the absolutely best runners on the distance ever. He is the defending CPH Half champion and course record-holder with a time of 58.40 minutes – personal best and only 17 seconds out of the world record. This was the second time during his career to dip under 59 minutes, as a month and a half later, Cheroben was victorious once again at the competitive Valencia Half Marathon. March this year, Abraham finished second at the World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia, and he is a very serious contender to win the CPH Half for the second time this Sunday.


Yomif Kejelcha (Ethiopia)

Age: 21 years

A young debutant on the half marathon distance, Kejelcha will be very interesting to follow. With a personal best of 12.46,79 minutes (5000 metres) set at the Diamond League final in August and 7.28.00 minutes (3000 metres) set in August in Göteborg, he belongs in the absolute world-elite. He is a two-time world champion on 3000 metres indoor and have finished fourth twice at the World 5,000 metres Championships. If he can transfer his running from the track onto the roads, he can have a fantastic debut.


Leonard Korir (USA)

Age: 31 years
PB: 59.52 (New Delhi 2017)
SB: no time

Kenyan-American Korir has a clear goal for the CPH Half, which is to set a new American record. This requires a time under 59.43 minutes, which is a goal that is definitely within scope. With a personal best of 59.52 minutes set back in November at the New Delhi Half Marathon, he is only 10 seconds away from deleting the American record, which currently belongs to Ryan Hall.


Jemal Yimer Mekonnen (Ethiopia)

Age: 22 years
PB: 59.00 (Ras Al Khaimah 2018)

SB: 59.00 (Ras Al Khaimah February 9)

Mekonnen has the third fastest time on the half marathon distance in 2018, as he ran an amazing time of 59.00 in February in Ras Al Khaimah. One and a half month later, he finished fourth at the World Half Marathon Championships, and in August, he won the African 10,000 metres Championships, proving him to be in excellent shape. Jemal also finished fifth at the World 10,000 metres Championships in 2017 in the stunning time of 26.56.11 minutes, so it should come as no surprise if we see him at the top of podium on Sunday.


Jorum Okombo (Kenya)

Age: 20 years
PB: 58.48 (Copenhagen 2017)
SB: 59.36 (Ras Al Khaimah February 9)

Okombo was completely unknown when he finished second at CPH Half last year in the amazing time of 58.48 minutes. This year he is back to take gold, so he has announced. Since the CPH Half 2017 he has been focusing entirely on the half marathon distance and has already run three races in 2018, resulting in a fourth place at Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon with a time of 59.36 minutes. Okombo is determined to at least improve his PB and also to win. 


Daniel Kipchumba (Kenya)

Age: 20 years
PB: 59.06 (Stresa 2018)
SB: 59.06 (Stresa April 15)

In his half marathon debut in Stresa, Italy, earlier this year, Daniel Kipchumba of Kenya was relatively unknown. That changed as soon as he crossed the finish line in phenomenal 59.06 minutes. He was supposed to pace at this year’s CPH Half but has been granted the chance to run his own race and the goal is a new PB.


Female elite profiles

Joan Chelimo Melly (Kenya)

Age: 27 years
PB: 65.04 (Prague 2018)
SB: 65.04 (Prag April 7)

Joan Melly really put her name in the books at last year’s Copenhagen Half Marathon. First, she won Berlin Half Marathon with a time of 68.45 minutes, followed by 66.25 minutes in Copenhagen, which rewarded her with a second place. After that she has improved even more, her personal record now being 65.04 minutes, which she ran in Prague in April. Her personal record is the fourth fastest half marathon time ever run by a woman, and Joan has announced she is coming to Copenhagen to set a new world record.


Ruth Chepngetich (Kenya)

Age: 24 years
PB: 66.19 (Istanbul 2017)
SB: 69.12 (Valencia 24 March)

Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich is used to winning. She has won major half marathon races in Istanbul, Milan and Paris, and earlier this year, she finished second at Paris Half Marathon with a personal best of 66.19 minutes. She is a serious challenger to the favorite Joan Chelimo Melly as she has announced that she will be following suit, when pacers set out in a fierce pace well within world record. For this purpose she is bringing the legendary pacer Bonface Kosgei Kuriu, who has been pacing at least 5 other world records.


Ababel Yeshaneh (Ethiopia)

Age: 27 years
PB: 66.22 (Istanbul 2018)
SB: 66.22 (Istanbul April 8)

Ababel Yeshaneh has already won two half marathon races this year in Yangzhou and Istanbul respectively, and earlier this year in Istanbul, she also set her personal best of 66.22 minutes. Even if the pace is set to target world record, she will be able to follow suit and provide fierce opposition to Joan Melly and Ruth Chepngetich and even climb to the top of the podium.


Sifan Hassan (Netherlands)

Age: 25 years
PB: 77.10 (Eindhoven 2011)
SB: no time

Hassan belongs in the absolute world elite on the 1500 metres and 5000 metres and is a major profile on the tracks. At the European Championship this year, she won the 5,000 metres, a distance where she also holds the European record. New on the half marathon distance, Sifan has only one recorded half marathon time set in 2011, where she ran 77.10 min at the age of 18. A huge track talent, she undoubtedly has a great future ahead of her on the half marathon distance, and it will be extremely exciting to follow her at the CPH Half.


Sylvia Kiberenge (Kenya)

Age: 28 years
PB: 70.42 (Copenhagen 2017)
SB: no time 

Not yet a Danish citizen, Kenyan Sylvia Kiberenge dreams of representing Denmark on the marathon distance at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. She has demonstrated the level required to do so on many occassions, including at the CPH Half 2017 where she placed 11th clocking 70:42 minutes, and at the 2017 Frankfurt Marathon with a time of 2.29.09, which would actually have earned her the Danish record. Kiberenge is preparing for Frankfurt Marathon but hopes to improve her personal best on Sunday.


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