Champions Bring ‘Major’ Competition To San Diego

Reigning half-marathon champion Edna Kiplagat returns to San Diego on June 1 to defend her title. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Jeptoo, Kiplagat headline a stellar women’s field at the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon. 

The Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon on June 1 will feature a head-to-head matchup pitting this year’s Boston Marathon champion, Rita Jeptoo, against reigning London Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat. Fresh off their prominent victories, Jeptoo and Kipligat sit atop the current World Marathon Major standings and will compete head-to-head this fall for the $500,000 top prize.

Since winning in San Diego last year, Kiplagat, 34, has continued to reign as one of the world’s greatest distance runners. In 2013, she made IAAF World Championships history by becoming the first woman to successfully defend her marathon gold medal. The two-time marathon world champion has a half-marathon PR of 1:07:41 from the Great Northern Run in 2012. She has also won the 2006 Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon, the 2010 Los Angeles Marathon and the 2010 New York Marathon.

RELATED: Kiplagat Rallies To Win Women’s Race At Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego

“I’m very happy to be coming back to San Diego to defend my title. Last year’s race was the perfect tune up for me before I went to the World Championships in Moscow,” said Kiplagat, whose time of 1:08:56 was the third fastest half marathon run in the United States last year. “This year I will be arriving fresh from my London Marathon win and I’m looking forward to the challenge. This will be my 11th Competitor Group event since 2003, four of which I have won. Rock ‘n’ Roll events have always brought out the best in me.”

San Diego will be Jeptoo’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series debut. The three-time Boston Marathon champion finished last month’s race in a course-record and personal best time of 2:18:57. She won the 2013 Chicago Marathon in 2:19:57, the fastest marathon time run in the world last year.

RELATED: Rita Jeptoo Repeats At Boston Marathon

“I’m excited to be part of the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego event this year. After my race in Boston it’s a great way for me to focus and get back into my training,” said Jeptoo, 33, who owns a blistering half-marathon PR of 1:06:27. “Racing Edna is always tough. She won here last year and will be hoping to beat me before we take each other on for the World Marathon Majors title later in the year.”

Among the other entrants expected to challenge Kiplagat and Jeptoo are Ethiopians Berhane Dibaba, 20, and Amane Gobena, 31, as well as Nadia Ejafini, 36, of Italy. Despite her youth, Dibaba has an outstanding international resume. She finished second at 2014 Tokyo Marathon and her time of 2:22:30 was the fastest marathon ever run by a 20-year-old woman. Gobena won the 2014 L.A. Marathon in March and has a half-marathon personal best of 1:08:16. Ejafini has a half-marathon PR of 1:08:27 and most recently represented Italy at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen.

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