London Champs Kipsang, Kiplagat To Race In Czech Half Marathon

Wilson Kipsang is the current marathon world record holder. Photo: www.photorun.net

The pair will compete at the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon on June 21.

(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

Fresh off winning the Virgin Money London Marathon, Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang and Edna Kiplagat will compete in the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon in the Czech Republic on June 21, organizers announced Friday.

Last week, Kipsang, the marathon world record holder, used two aggressive surges in the second half of the race to earn his second victory in London and establish a new course record of 2:04:29. In the women’s race, his compatriot Kiplagat won a thrilling sprint finish over Florence Kiplagat (no relation) to score her first victory in four tries in 2:20:21.

Kipsang’s effort was the fifth sub-2:05 marathon of his career, including his world record of 2:03:23 from Berlin in 2013. Before heading to the Czech Republic, he will compete in the Bupa Great Manchester run 10-K in England on May 18. Kiplagat has now won four World Marathon Majors races: the IAAF World Championships in 2011 and 2013, London this year, and the ING New York City Marathon in 2010.

For an encore, the two will headline the elite field in Olomouc, a charming and picturesque city of 100,000 residents in the heart of Moravia, about 280 kilometers southeast of the capital of Prague. The race, part of RunCzech’s seven-race series, is an IAAF Silver Label road race.

The race, now in its fifth year, has been accompanied by a festive atmosphere as the university is on summer break and the townsfolk pack Horni Square and line the course for the 7 p.m. start, creating the feel of an evening running party. Last year’s field featured 3,500 starters.

“We are pleased that our champions will run in Olomouc,” London Marathon elite athletes manager Dave Bedford said. “We know our friends on the RunCzech Team will treat them well and they will have a chance to run in a professionally organized, top quality half-marathon with strong competition and the famous RunCzech hospitality and community support.”

RELATED: Kipsang, Kiplagat Win London Marathon Titles

The remainder of the elite field challenging Kipsang and Kiplagat is still being assembled and will be announced at a later date.

Carlo Capalbo, president of the RunCzech organizing committee, said he was thrilled at the rare opportunity to have two such accomplished athletes headline the field in Olomouc.

“The world is used to seeing athletes of this caliber only in well-known, big-city events like those in London or New York, but we are showing that a small city with a commitment to quality and a beautiful setting can compete with those cities,” Capalbo told Race Results Weekly. “We are also demonstrating with the RunCzech Running League that not just Prague but the entire Czech Republic can be a welcoming and attractive place for all runners, whether world record holders or recreational tourists.”

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