On Thursday at the International Elites Press Conference! Of Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, Both Runners dodged diplomatically around the issue of whether they would beat the existing course records at the traditional pre-race press conference in delhi, but the
pair commented that they were in excellent shape and would not on the start line in Delhi if they were not ready to run well.
The men’s course record is 59: 06 and was set by Ethiopia’s Guye Adola in 2014 while the
women’s course record has been standing since 2009 and belongs to Kenya’s Mary
Keitany at 1:06.54.
Kirui, who won the men’s marathon at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 this
summer, told the gathered media: “if I compare myself to my last appearance here (in 2015), I’m in much better shape and my body has got stronger than before.” The Kenyan runner was sixth in a high-quality affair two years ago, making a breakthrough
that caught the attention of running fans around the world the race, and he set what
remains his personal best of 59:38.
“Running the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is not going to be easy for me because some of
my friends and fellow runners here have been running half marathons all the time. “This is my second time here and I’m ready, but it entirely depends on how I am feeling Sunday. Today I’m feeling good but Sunday maybe a different day,” added Kirui.
Despite his feats over the classic marathon distance this year, which also include a win at
the Boston Marathon in April, Kirui has not actually run a competitive half marathon since
his outing in Delhi two years ago.
Kirui is also not the fastest man in the field, which may explain his slight reticence on
Thursday, as two of his compatriots have run quicker than the course record and under 59
minutes this year. The in-form Jorum Okumbo and Alex Korio ran 58:48 and 58:51 respectively in Copenhagen in September.
Ethiopia’s reigning 10,000m world champion and world record holder Ayana will be
making her debut in a half marathon on Sunday, in her first race since the world championships in August.
“After winning the world championships, I have continued my training. There aren’t many
good competitions, so I trained hard for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. Even though it’s
new territory, it’s running, so I will do my best,” reflected Ayana on Thursday”.
All the leading runners will also have in their sights first prize cheques of US$27,000 with a
total prize money purse (combined men and women) of US$275,000.