Professional Fields Announced for Rock 'n' Roll Lisbon
- World record holder Zersenay Tadese headlines men's half-marathon
- IAAF Gold Label Marathon & ½ Marathon to take place on Sunday morning
- 49 athletes representing 10 countries to lead more than 25,000 runners
LISBON, Portugal - October 2, 2014 – World record holder Zersenay Tadese headlines a world-class elite field on Sunday morning at the EDP Rock 'n' Roll Lisbon Marathon & Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Vodafone RTP in Portugal on October 5, 2014. Eritrea's Tadese will return to race in the city where he set the half-marathon world record of 58 minutes, 23 seconds in 2010.
One of the world's most prestigious half-marathons, the Lisbon road race was rebranded as part of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series in 2012. Last year the event included a marathon for the first time, which was awarded an IAAF Road Race Gold Label, the highest certification in road running by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
For the 2nd edition of the EDP Rock 'n' Roll Lisbon Marathon, organizers have made slight adjustments to the route and moved the marathon start time to 8:30 am, while the half-marathon will start at 10:30 am on the Vasco da Gama Bridge. The marathon begins in the seaside city of Cascais, and features a fast course with breathtaking views along ocean the River Tagus, before finishing at Parque das Nações where the 1998 World Exposition took place.
The elite field includes seven men who have run faster than 2:10:00, including Kenyan Philip Kimutai who has run sub-2:07 three times each of the past three years. Joining Kimutai will be compatriots Lawrence Kimayo (2:07:01), Samuel Ndungu (2:07:04) and Robert Kwambai (2:08:48). The strong field puts Portugal's All-Comers record of 2:09:46 in jeopardy.
Sunday's top competitors also include Ethiopia's Dereje Debele Tulu, who set his PR of 2:07:48 in route to winning the Duesseldorf Marathon last year; Ukraine's Oleksandr Sitkovskiy, who won the Firenze Marathon with a personal best time of 2:09:14 and was also the second best performance by a European runner last year;and Zimbabwe's Cutbert Nyasango, a 2012 Olympic Marathoner who set his PR of 2:09:52 finishing third at the Prague Marathon in May.
In the women's marathon, defending champion Agnes Kiprop will look to bring her winning time last year of 2:31:15 more in line with her PR of 2:23.54. She'll likely get her most serious challenge from Ethiopians Azalech Masresha (2:25.34) and Aberu Mekuria Zennebe (2:26:07). Italy's Emma Qauglia, who finished 6th in the marathon at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, is also in the field.
The half-marathon field will be chasing Tadese's world record of 58:23 and the course record of 1:00:19 set last year by Wilson Kiprop of Kenya.
Tadese's list of career accomplishments over the 13.1-mile distance is impressive. The Eritrean has won the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships five times, broken the magical 60-minute barrier in the half-marathon an astonishing ten times, set the current IAAF world record at the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon in 2010 and then won the next year in 58:30, which are the two fastest performances in history.
Tadese will be challenged by three men with sub-60 minute personal bests are entered: Stephen Kibet of Kenya (58:54), Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia (59:54) and Aziz Lahbabi of Morocco (59:25), winner of the prestigious Rome-Ostia Half Marathon in March. Italy's Daniele Meucci, who won the European Championship marathon title, and Ethiopia's Ibrahim Jeilan, the 2011 IAAF World Championships 10,000m gold medalist, will also be competing.
Sunday's half-marathon features twelve men have sub-62 minute personal best times and seven women have run sub-71:00. The leading women's entrant is two-time Olympian Nadia Ejjafinni of Italy, who owns the fastest PR in the field (1:08:27). Favorites among those aligned against her will be Ethiopian's Godfay Afera (1:09:52) and Ababel Yeshaneh (1:09:54), along with Kenya's Gorreti Jepkoech (1:09.35).
The event also includes a shorter distance Mini Marathon sponsored by EDP, which starts and finishes at the same location as the half marathon and allows for wider participation. The elite races will be broadcast live on RTP television and spectators can tune in around the globe to watch at http://www.rtp.pt/play/direto/rtp1.
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