Belihu, Gemechu to defend titles at Airtel Delhi Half Marathon

The fastest man on view will be Erick Kiptanui, who won the Barcelona Half Marathon earlier this year.

The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon will be held on October 20 this year.   -  R. V. Moorthy

Ethiopia’s Andamlak Belihu and Tsehay Gemechu will defend their titles at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on October 20.

Last year, Belihu won in 59:18, but missed out on the course record of 59:06 held since 2014 by his compatriot Guye Adola.

“Immediately after last year’s race I said that I was going to come back to Delhi in 2019 as I had unfinished business with the course record and I am keeping my promise,” Belihu, who won the TCS World 10K title in Bengaluru in May this year, said.

Hagos Gebrhiwet, winner of two world championships medal in 5,000m from 2013 and 2015, will be the man to watch. He is in the Ethiopian team for both 5,000m and 10,000m at the IAAF World Athletics Championships which gets underway at Doha on Friday.

The fastest man on view will be Erick Kiptanui, who won the Barcelona Half Marathon earlier this year. Last year, the Kenyan, seventh on the all-time list, had won two half marathons in Lisbon and Berlin, where he recorded his personal best of 58:42.

Gemechu of Ethopia set an Airtel Delhi Half Marathon women’s course record of 66:50 last year. She will also be running for the 5,000m and 10,000m titles at the World Athletics Championships.

Caroline Kipkirui will be fastest woman in the elite field. The Kenyan-born runner, who now represents Kazakhstan, set a personal best of 65:07 in the 2018 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon.

The women’s race will also have promising debutant in Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey. She is a two-time winner of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships U-20 race.

The Procam International joint managing director, Vivek Singh, said, “We are excited to have both our defending champions back. The fact that they may be on the start line in Delhi, with medals from Doha to their name, will enhance the events profile and appeal.”