Silas Sang, Martin Lel and Tariku Bekele highlight men’s lineup.
Short of the upcoming IAAF World Half Marathon Championships slated to take place next month in Bulgaria, Sunday’s Vodafone Rock ‘n’ Roll Portugal Half Marathon RTP may be the fall’s most stacked 13.1-mile race.
Kenyan Silas Sang, the two-time winner and course record holder of this recently rebranded race, returns to the place where he ran 1 hour, 20 seconds to win in 2009. He’ll have his hands full this weekend, as three-time London Marathon champion Martin Lel will be on the starting line, as will Ethiopian Tariku Bekele, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist at 10,000 meters, who is making his half-marathon debut. A couple of sub-60 minute performers are also amongst the entrants, including Kenyan Titus Masai (59:51 PB) and Ethipian Dino Sefir (59:42 PB), as well as Eritreans Yonas Kifle and Teklemarian Medhin, a debutante who was the silver medalist at the world cross country championships in 2010.
On the women’s side, Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo, the reigning Olympic Marathon silver medalist, headlines the field. She has a personal best of 1:10:26 for 13.1 miles, a mark she will be looking to smash this weekend. Also in the field is Japan’s Mizunki Moguchi, the 2004 Olympic Marathon champion, who has the fastest PB in the field at 1:07:08. Kenyan Margaret Muriuki ran 1:09:21 to finish third at the Lisbon Half Marathon this past spring and will be amongst the favorites to challenge Mary Keitany’s course mark of 1:07:53 from last year.