Defending champions Andamlak Belihu and Tsehay Gemecu of Ethiopia will return to the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, a World Athletics Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday 29 November.
Belihu and Gemecu won two previous editions (2018 and 2019) of the Dehli half marathon and will target for an unprecedented third successive victory.
“I have been training well in (the Ethiopia capital) Addis Ababa for the last couple of months and I am very thankful to have the opportunity to race in Delhi, a city I always enjoy returning to and racing in,” commented Belihu, who will turn 22 just over a week before race day.
“This has been a difﬁcult year, for everyone around the world, not just professional athletes, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and I have been training alone much more than that I am normally used to but my ﬁfth place at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Poland last month has assured me that I am in good shape and I am conﬁdent I can put up a good defence of my title,” he added.
The Dehli half marathon organizers have put together the strongest men's field ever with 13 runners holding personal best times in the half marathon under one hour.
World Half Marathon Championships silver medallist Abraham Cheroben leads the men's race with his 58:40 PB from the 2017 Copenhagen half marathon while Belihu with his 59:10 PB from 2019 is only the 5th fastest men in the field.
The other two men to follow will be the Ethiopian duo of Amdework Walelegn who took bronze at the World half marathon championships in Gdyna, Poland two weeks ago, and Muktar Edris the World champion over 5000m (2017 and 2019) who will be making his half-marathon debut.
Tsehay Gemechu who broke her own women's course record by 50 seconds when she ran an impressive PB of 66:00 will face arguably the strongest women's field ever with seven women having run inside 67:00 minutes. Among them are two of her compatriots, Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Netsanet Gudeta, as well as Kenya's world marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich.
Preferably, Gemechu would like to go run faster this year but, like so many runners around the world, her training and racing this year have been hugely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 is a disaster which has affected everyone's life all over the globe and, deﬁnitely, it has affected my training, not least in the early stages of the pandemic when we were all fearful of infection. Later, my coach and I decided to take care of ourselves, taking into account all the advice from the World Health Organisation, and I started my own individual training programme with my main goal of coming back to Delhi, although since September I have had some races on the track,” reﬂected Gemechu, who will turn 22 in December.
“Like all the athletes who will be coming to Delhi, I'd like to express my thanks to the race promoters Procam International who have committed their time and effort and invested their money in making sure this race goes ahead while we all respect the appropriate health measures,” she added.
The in-form Yehualaw ﬁnished second in the ADHM 2019, just one second behind Gemechu, and showed she's one of the rising stars of women's distance running by ﬁnishing third at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships last month in a personal best of 65:19 while Gudeta ﬁnished eighth in Poland but helped Ethiopia to team gold and was the 2018 world half marathon champion
Both the men's and women's races have a ﬁrst prize cheques of US$27,000 with a total prize money purse (combined men and women) of US$233.270.
Because of the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 edition will be elite runners only while the mass participation is cancelled. Approximately 60 elite international and Indian runners will be in action on the Delhi roads, with the traditional start and ﬁnish in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the event being held in a bio-secure bubble.
Non-elite runners of all abilities will have the chance to participate virtually from any location, running at any time between 25-29 November via the ADHM App. Details of how to download and use this app can found on the ADHM 2020 website airteldelhihalfmarathon.procam.in
Abraham Cheroben (BRN) 58:40
Guye Adola (ETH) 59:06
Amdework Walelegn (ETH) 59:08
Leonard Barsoton (KEN) 59:09
Andamlak Belihu (ETH) 59:10
Solomon Berihu (ETH) 59:17
Josphat Boit (KEN) 59:19
Edwin Kiptoo (KEN) 59:26
Stephen Mokoka (RSA) 59:36
Abrar Osman (ERI) 59:47
Aron Kifle (ERI) 59:51
Dawit Wolde (ETH) 59:58
Muktar Edris (ETH) debut
Yalemzerf Yehualaw (ETH) 1:05:19
Ruth Chepngetich (KEN) 1:05:30
Netsanet Gudeta (ETH) 1:05:45
Tsehay Gemechu (ETH) 1:06:00
Evaline Chirchir (KEN) 1:06:01
Brillian Kipkoech (KEN) 1:06:56
Irene Cheptai (KEN) 1:07:39
Mimi Belete (BRN) 1:08:16
Failuna Matanga (TAN) 1:09:36
Nazret Weldu (ERI) 1:10:51
Tsigie Gebreselama (ETH) debut
Hawi Feysa (ETH) debut
Eva Cherono (KEN) debut