March 14, 2019
Update: Live Race Thread Here
What if we told you the most competitive half marathon in the world this weekend was not the one taking place in New York featuring the women’s world record holder, the Boston Marathon champion, and the debut of Paul Chelimo?
No, it’s not the United Airlines NYC Half, but the inaugural Bahrain Night Half Marathon, which will be held on Friday. With first-place prize money that dwarfs NYC ($100,000 for the win, compared to $20,000 in New York), the fields are comically loaded.
According to the start list shared by Alberto Stretti (we don’t know of any withdrawals as of yet), the race features five of the 16 fastest men in history, led by world record holder Abraham Kiptum of Kenya (58:18 pb). All five have run 58:51 or faster, with three of them — Kiptum, Ethiopian record holer Jemal Yimer (58:33), and Ethiopia’s Abadi Hadis (58:44) — running their PR within the last five months.
Plus there are seven more men who have broke 60:00, for a total of 12 in all, and that doesn’t include Ethiopia’s Getaneh Molla, who ran the fastest debut marathon in history (2:03:34) to win Dubai less than two months ago.
The women’s field, with four women under 66:00 and another three under 67:00, is just as good. Caroline Kipkirui is the fastest entrant at 65:07, but the field also contains the World Half Marathon champion, Netsanet Gudeta (65:45), Senbere Teferi (who beat Gudeta to win the RAK Half last month, also in 65:45), Chicago Marathon/Houston Half champ Brigid Kosgei of Kenya, and Ruth Chepngetich, who just became the third-fastest female marathoner in history by running 2:17:08 in Dubai in January.
The race will start at 8 p.m. local time on Friday, which is 1 p.m. ET in the USA.
Top men’s entries
|El Hassan El Abbassi||Bahrain||59:27|
Top women’s entries
|Sutume Asefa Kebede||Ethiopia||67:54|