While the COVID-19 pandemic has put the entire world on hold, race organizers at RunCzech were determined to find a way of hosting at least one magnificent event before the regular racing season came to an end. And it looks like they’re about to do it. On September 5, a date when they would have been hosting their traditional Grand Prix—which includes a Women’s 5K and an open 10K—RunCzech will instead host an invitation-only half marathon featuring 35 of the most celebrated distance runners in the world today.
As president of the organizing committee, Carlo Capalbo, tells us, “The pandemic has deprived these great athletes of the chance to participate in races all across the world. It has deprived us from witnessing some of the great performances that we’re accustomed to seeing. We wanted to find a way of doing something spectacular for everyone.”
The event will take place at Letna Park. The athletes will compete on an oval course around the park, running 21.0975 km, roughly 16.5 laps. The flat course and the intense competition are designed to be an all-out assault on current world records and best times. For the men that means shattering the 58:30 mark, which was done only two times in history. And for the women, the current world record in women's only race stands at 1:06:11.
Men and women will compete in separate races. The men’s race will begin at 06:20. The women will start at 08:00. Weather permitting. Both performances will be broadcasted live on Czech Television and spread to the whole world.
This race will also be a proving ground for a breakthrough product from RunCzech partner and sponsor, adidas. They are introducing, in performing setting, their adizero adios Pro at the event, a shoe designed in close collaboration with elite athletes. More reason to believe that we will see some astonishing performances and finishes.
“While this race is coming at what would normally be the end of the season,” Mr. Capalbo tells us, “we hope in a way that it will be the start, a spark that gets race organizers all over the world thinking creatively about how to keep the sport alive.”
This is also a sign of hope. Organizing an event like this sends a message that the Czech Republic is well on its way to recovering from the shutdowns, and is poised to restart economically, socially and athletically. It’s a way of reminding people that we are capable of defeating this pandemic once and for all. That there is hope and joy in our future.
A free live stream with English commentary will be provided by Run Czech. The women's race will start at 6:20 a.m., the men will run at 8:00 a.m. See more live stream info here.
Netsanet Gudeta Kebede (ETH) - Half marathon PB: 1:05:45, Ras Al Khaimah 2019 The 2018 IAAF World Half Marathon Champion and is Women’s only World Half marathon record holder with 1:06:11, Valencia 2018.
Joan Chelimo Melly (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 1:05:04, Prague 2018. She is the winner of the 2018 Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon, she ran twice under 1:06:00 and fve times under 1:07:00 in her career.
Peres Jepchirchir (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 1:05:06, Ras Al Khaimah 2017.
Vibian Chepkirui (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 1:09:28, Santa Pola 2020.
Senebre Teferi Sora (ETH) - Half marathon PB: 1:05:32, Valencia 2019
Edith Chelimo (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 1:05:52, Cardiff 2017.
Dorcas Jepchirchir Tuitoek (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 1:06:33, Istanbul 2019.
Dorcas Jepchumba Kimeli (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 1:07:10, Barcelona 2020.
Stephen Kiprop (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 58:42, Ras Al Khaimah 2019.
Kibiwott Kandie (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 58:58, Ras Al Khaimah 2020. He is the winner of 2020 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon and Kenyan National Cross Country Championships.
Bernard Kimeli (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 59:07, Prague 2019. He won Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon in 2018 and 2019 and Birell 10km Race Prague in 2017.
Andamlak Belihu Berta (ETH) - Half marathon PB: 59:10, Delhi 2019. He won Airtel Delhi Half Marathon back-to-back in 2018 and 2019, and is a two-time World Athletics Championships finalist over 10,000m.
Philemon Kiplimo Kimaiyo (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 59:28, Houston, TX 2020.
Abel Kipchumba (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 59:29, Valencia 2018 RunCzech Racing.
Amos Kurgat Kibiwot (KEN) Half marathon PB: 59:37, Copenhagen 2019 RunCzech Racing.
Lucas Kimeli Rotich (KEN) Half marathon PB: 59:44, Hague 2011.
Alfer Chelal Barach (KEN) Half marathon PB: 59:46, Delhi 2019.
Henry Rono (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 1:00:04, Napoli 2020 RunCzech Racing.
Meshack Kiprop Koech (KEN) -Half marathon PB: 1:00:07, Lille 2017.
Felix Kipkoech (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 1:00:12, Boulogne-Billancourt 2019.
Kennedy Kimutai (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 1:00:21, Cardiff 2019.
Evans Kipkorir Cheruiyot (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 1:00:26, Istanbul 2018.
Bethwell Biwott Yegon (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 1:00:57, Venlo 2019.
Benson Kipruto (KEN) - Half marathon PB: 1:02:13a, Guadalajara 2020.
Timothy Kibet Kosgei (KEN) - Half marathon PB: debut.
Victor Kipruto (KEN) - Half marathon PB: debut.
02 October 2022 08:30 (GMT)
09 October 2022 07:00 (GMT)
09 October 2022 12:55 (GMT)
16 October 2022 07:00 (GMT)
03 November 2022 04:00 (GMT)
06 November 2022 11:00 (GMT)