Former Boston Marathon champion will race on Sunday.
Written by: Mario Fraioli
As if an elite women’s field already chock full of talent couldn’t get any more impressive, it has been confirmed that 2009 Boston Marathon champion Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopia will run the ING Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon on Sunday.
The 27-year-old Erkesso, whose gutsy mid-race surge carried her to victory at the 2009 Boston Marathon, has perhaps the best road racing credentials of any woman running the race. Her personal best half marathon of 67:41, set earlier this year in Ras Al Khaimah, is the second fastest in the field behind her countrywomen Derartu Tulu, the decorated Olympian, world record holder and reigning New York City Marathon champion.
Another Ethiopian, multiple Olympic track medalist and world record holder Meseret Defar–who has never raced further than 5K on the roads–will be making her highly-anticipated half marathon debut. Reigning U.S. half marathon Shalane Flanagan, preparing for her marathon debut this November in New York, will be looking to improve upon her personal best of 69:41. Lineth Chepkurui of Kenya, who broke the course record earlier this summer at the Beach to Beacon 10K with a sub-31 minute clocking, along with New Zealand’s Kim Smith, who has run under, 68 minutes for 13.1 miles, round out the fastest women’s half marathon field ever assembled on U.S. soil.
The sold-out race, which gets underway at 8:00 EST on Sunday morning, is a first-year Rock ‘n’ Roll event. It replaced the former Philadelphia Distance Run, traditionally known as one of the fastest half marathons in the United States. Competitor.com will provide complete coverage event, including a live webcast of the men’s race starting at 7:55 AM. [sig:MarioFraioli]