RRW: Fast Fields Set For The Publix Atlanta Half-Marathon On February 27th

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2022 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(15-Feb) — After a special pandemic edition in 2021 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the Publix Atlanta Half-Marathon returns to city streets for the 2022 edition on Sunday, February 27.  The race, part of the Publix Atlanta Marathon Weekend organized by the Atlanta Track Club (ATC), will feature an elite field, a $17,000 prize money purse, and a $5,000 bonus pool for exceeding the fastest times ever run in the state of Georgia (1:08:29 for women and 1:03:59 for men).

Viola Cheptoo (center) will be running the Publix Atlanta Half-Marathon on Sunday, February 27 (Photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

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Leading the women’s elite field will be Kenya’s Viola Cheptoo who, when she competed as a middle distance runner for Florida State University in the NCAA system, went by “Violah Lagat.”  The younger sister of two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat will be running her first race since her dramatic marathon debut at the TCS New York City Marathon last November where she finished a close second to compatriot and Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir.  Her time of 2:22:44 was the third-fastest time in race history.  She’ll be incorporating the Publix Atlanta Half-Marathon into her Boston Marathon training.

“I am looking forward to it,” said Cheptoo who has never been to Atlanta before.  “I want to do well and build a relationship with the community, as I am aware of all the good work done by Atlanta Track Club.”

Cheptoo, who has a half-marathon best of 1:06:47, will face another strong Kenyan, Dorcas Tuitoek, who has run similarly fast: 1:06:33.  These two woman have an excellent chance of bettering the state record which was set by 2021 Olympic Marathon bronze medalist Molly Seidel at last year’s race.

North American athletes will also be represented on the women’s side, including Dakotah Lindwurm of Minnesota Distance Elite (1:09:36 PB), Maegan Krifchin of the Atlanta Track Club (1:09:51), and Canadian Lanni Marchant (1:10:47) a 2016 Olympian and the 2021 Honolulu Marathon champion.

The top entrants on the men’s side are also from Kenya, and both have broken 60 minutes for the half-marathon.  Benard Ngeno (59:07 PB) and Geoffrey Koech (59:36) are the fastest men in the field.  The top North Americans will be Canadian record holder Rory Linkletter (1:01:08 PB), Jonas Hampton of Newtonville, Mass. (1:03:57), and Matthew McDonald of the Boston Athletic Association High Performance team (1:04:48).  McDonald, the tenth place finisher at the 2020 USA Olympic Trials Marathon, formerly trained with the ATC at Georgia Tech.  He now works at MIT in Cambridge, Mass.

The complete elite fields are below with personal best times:

Dorcas Tuitoek, KEN, 1:06:41
Viola Cheptoo, KEN, 1:06:47
Mary Munanu, KEN, 1:07:54
Tsige Haileslase, ETH, 1:08:30
Daisy Kimeli, KEN, 1:08:34
Dakotah Lindwurm, USA, 1:09:36
Maegan Krifchin, USA, 1:09:51
Ludwina Chepngetich, KEN, 1:10:34
Lanni Marchant, CAN, 1:10:47
Leslie Sexton, CAN, 1:11:21
Bridget Lyons Belyeu, USA, 1:12:24
Grace Kahura, KEN, 1:12:49
Janel Blanchett, USA, 1:13:43
Anne-Marie Comeau, CAN, 1:14:09
Joanna Stephens, USA, 1:14:23

Benard Ngeno, KEN, 59:07
Geoffrey Koech, KEN, 59:36
Raymond Magut, KEN, 1:00:00
Bayelign Teshager, ETH, 1:00:30
Bethwell Yegon, KEN, 1:00:57
Rory Linkletter, CAN, 1:01:08
Mike Cheshire, KEN, 1:03:45
Jonas Hampton, USA, 1:03:57
Matt McDonald, USA, 1:04:48
Chris May, USA, 1:04:50
Paul Hogan, USA, 2:15:51 (Marathon)

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