The 13th Airtel Delhi Half Marathon scheduled for Nov. 19 will see one of the biggest names in distance running at the start line. Almaz Ayana is set to go against a deep field of women later this month. The question top of the minds of most running fans: will she win it and could she set a record?
The world champion in the 10,000m will be feared by her competition. Though this race will mark her half-marathon debut, she’s known as a blazing fast runner with aggressive tactics and low PBs. (She obliterated the women’s 10,000m record on the opening day of athletics in Rio last year when she ran 29:17:45 and her 5,000m time is 14:12:59.)
The Nov. 19 race will also be Ayana’s first time to India. It’s happening two days before her 26th birthday.
The women’s course record was set by Kenyan runner Mary Keitany in 2009 and stands at 1:06:54. Many will be holding their breath to see if Ayana is going to break that mark and if performances in recent years is anything to go by (and it is), chances are that she will.
Worknesh Degefa will be her biggest challenger. The elite distance runner has a PB of 1:06:14 – which she clocked last year. She’s the fastest of all the women in the field and she also happens to be the defending champion. If that’s not an intimidating resume, we’re not sure what is.
RELATED: Why we love Worknesh Degefa
Degefa won’t be the only elite woman at the start line who is familiar with the course: each of the women who stood on the podium after last year’s race will be returning. Ababel Yeshaneh and Helah Kiprop will both be hoping to get their hands on the gold medal this time around. The elite field was announced on Wednesday.
The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is India’s only IAAF Gold Label race. The winner of the men’s and women’s races will be awarded with U.S. $27,000 (C $34,477).