Race record on the cards at the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon
A strong group of elite athletes are expected at the start line of the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon on Saturday 20th May.
As they run along the colonnade of this beautiful spa town, the best competing men and women will have one goal in mind – to smash the race record. As usual, African long-distance runners are expected to remain at the helm. The start line of this popular race now entering its 5th event year will, however, also play host to several top Czech runners including Jiří Homoláč, Petra Kamínková and local representative Ivana Sekyrová. A total of 4 000 long distance runners will be taking part in the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon including the well-known presenter Leoš Mareš.
Following on from last year’s race, nobody can question that Karlovy Vary draws in world-class runners. “Last year’s Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon saw RunCzech Racing Team member Joyciline Jepkosgei smash the race record. It was her international debut, and she has since gone down in history as a first woman ever to break 65 min in half marathon,” President of the RunCzech Organizing Committee, Carlo Capalbo reveals. The Kenyan runner went on to make a world record (in ratification) at the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon held in April.
All the participating elite runners (in both the men’s and women’s category) will undoubtedly be gearing themselves up to setting a new race record on 20th May. The men’s category boasts five athletes with more impressive personal bests than the race record of 1:01:01. The main goal for this year’s event is to smash this time,” Carlo Capalbo adds. The single long-distance runner competing on the Karlovy Vary course with a finishing time under one hour and therefore the hot favourite is Gilbert Masai from Kenya. He achieved this last year in Copenhagen. A number of other African runners, above all, Moussab Hadout from Morocco, Dawit Weldeslasie from Eritrea and Mark Korir and Shadrack Kimining from Kenya will also be taking part.
Joyciline Jepkosgei’s Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon record from last year is 1:09:07. However three of the competing runners next Saturday have already completed the half marathon course faster than this. “Mercy Kibarus will be competing for the first time in the Czech Republic. Ethiopian runner Sutue Assefa is dubbed to be her main rival, though RunCzech Racing Team member Yvone Jelagat, who enhanced her personal best at this year’s Prague half marathon, may have a few surprises up her sleeve,” RunCzech Elite coordinator Jana Moberly clarifies.
Czech fans will be very keen to see how things pan out with the national representatives. The clear favourite among the men is the current best Czech long-distance runner Jiří Homoláč. “I’d definitely like to beat the Czech race record and also enjoy the race. I’ve already run the Karlovy Vary course, so I’m familiar with the course and know it’s not exactly the easiest, but I think it’ll be OK. I had a demanding schedule in April and am now mostly training on the track, but I’m feeling good and believe in myself,” a confident Homoláč reveals, who will face fierce competition from another Czech runner Robert Míč.
When it comes to the women, the organisers are expecting to see a duel play out between two long-distance veterans Petra Kamínková and Sokolov native Ivana Sekyrová. “Petra fared better last time around, though Ivana will certainly be keen to use this as a chance to get her own back”, muses Moberly with a smile.
The fifth edition of the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon will kick off at 17.30 on Saturday 20th May from Nábřeží Osvobození. In addition to four thousand participants in the main race, a further 2 500 runners will take off on the three kilometre non-competitive race, the dm Family Run at 16.00. The Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon will be broadcast live on ČT Sport.