The Kenyan contingent boasts three athletes who have finished under 59 minutes: Benard Kibet, Charles Kipkirui Langat, and Sebastian Kimaru. Their fourth swiftest, Daniel Simiu Ebenyo, clocked a personal best of 59:04 in Manama in 2022, clinched the Istanbul Half Marathon at 59:52, and recently enhanced his 10000 metres time to 26:57.80 in Brussels.
Kibet grabbed victory at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, setting a personal best of 58:45 last February and securing fifth place in the 10000 metres at the World Championships in Budapest.
Sebastian Sawe Kimaru claimed triumphs in top half marathons at Roma Ostia with a time of 58:02 in 2022 and in Berlin at 59:00.
Langat celebrated victory at the Barcelona Half Marathon, finishing at 58:53.
Jemal Yimer Mekonnen stands out as the fastest Ethiopian athlete in the field, holding a personal best of 58:33 set in 2018 and earning second place at the Antrim Half Marathon with a time of 58:38 last August.
Mekonnen is joined by sub-60 minute performers Nibret Melak, Dinkalem Ayele, and Tsegay Kidanu. Melak, the 2022 Cinque Mulini Cross Country race victor, secured third place at the Antrim Half Marathon with a time of 59:49 and triumphed in Lisbon, updating his personal best to 59:06.
Heading the Ugandan contingent is Andrew Rotich Kwemoi, who advanced his half marathon personal best to 59:37 in Lille and captured the Milan Marathon title with a time of 2:07:14.
Additional top African contenders include Stephan Mokoka from South Africa (personal best 59:37), Ibrahim Hassan from Djibuti (personal best 59:41), and Mohamed Reda El Aaraby (personal best 59:54), who landed 25th in the marathon at the World Championships in Budapest.
The standout European athlete is France’s Jimmy Gressier, who enhanced his personal bests to 59:56 in the Paris Half Marathon and 12:56.09 in the 5000m at the Monaco Diamond League meeting before achieving ninth place in the 5000m at the World Championships in Budapest.
Italy's team comprises Yohanes Chiappinelli, who finished eleventh in the marathon at the World Championships in Budapest 2023 and earned a bronze in the 3000 meters steeplechase at the European Championships in Berlin 2018, Iliass Aouani, the national marathon record holder with a time of 2:07:16 in Barcelona last March, and Pietro Riva, who bettered his half marathon personal best to 1:00:30 in Valencia.