RIGA (LAT): Kenya and Ethiopia should dominate the inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships on Sunday, would be a surprise if they do not take all titles. Almost 350 athletes from 56 countries will compete; Faith Kipyegon is the biggest star. World records in the one-mile race are expected.
Event by event short previews
1-mile women – After an incredible track season, crowned by two World titles and three World records, Faith Kipyegon is aiming for another success. The strong Ethiopian squad (Diribe Welteji, Hirut Meshesha, and Freweyni Hailu) is a main threat for her; a surprise could come from Nelly Chepchirchir or Jessica Hull. A new world record mark is almost certain.
5km women – The usual Kenya-Ethiopia clash, teams are led by Beatrice Chebet and Ejgayehu Taye, respectively. Waiting behind are Peruth Chemutai and Nozomi Tanaka (set also for one mile).
Half marathon women – Kenyans are favored, Peres Jepchirchir is a two-time champion, world leader Irene Kimais finished just behind the podium at World’s 10,000m, and Catherine Reline was third in the so-far fastest half of the season in Barcelona. Konstanze Klosterhalfen is back after almost a three-month break due to an injury.
1 mile men – U20 Reynold Cheruiyot looks as most successful on track this year; there are also Teddese Lemi, Hobbs Kessler, and Ryan Mphahlele. Inaugural World record holder Sam Prakel is also there, and his mark is likely to be broken.
5km men – All-time leaders Berihu Aregawi and Yomif Kejelcha lead the field, together with fourth fastest-ever Nicholas Kipkorir. A surprise could come from Hagos Gebrhiwet, Cornelius Kemboi, … or Stewart McSweyn?
Half marathon men – And Ethiopia-Kenya again, season fastest in the line-up is Jemal Yimer, but there are also winners from Ras al Khaimah (Bernard Kibet), Barcelona (Charles Kipkurui Langat), Berlin (Sabastian Sawe), Lisbon (Nibret Melak) and Istanbul (Daniel Simiyu). Waiting behind is top European Jimmy Gressier.
RIGA (LAT): All three distances will be live-streamed for free on the World Athletics website. The road mile and 5km races will be open to all registered users. Access to the live stream of the half marathon race may be subject to broadcast rights restrictions in certain countries.
RIGA (LAT): Sara Hall has withdrawn from the USA squad for this weekend’s World Road Running Championships due to pain in her SI joint, she has announced on social media. Hall was due to contest the half marathon at Sunday’s Championships.