25 March 2022, 1pm
NKolay İstanbul Half Marathon
Sun 27 March 2022
Both course records could be threatened at the Bosporus. Six women are on the start list with personal bests of sub 67:00 and Kenya’s reigning World Cross Country Champion and 5,000 m World Champion is the fastest of them: Hellen Obiri has improved to 64:22 earlier this year. Fellow-Kenyans Daniel Mateiko and Rodgers Kwemoi head the men’s start list with personal bests of 58:26 and 58:30 respectively. The N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon produced a world record a year ago when Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich won the race in 64:02.
A year ago the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon was one of very few international races that went ahead during the pandemic. 4,000 runners participated under strict hygiene regulations. Now the organizers of the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon are proud to announce that the race bounced back: Including races at shorter distances a record number of over 10,000 runners were registered for the 17th edition. Around 8,000 of them will run the half marathon. Turkey’s biggest spring road race is a World Athletics Elite Label Road Race.
There will be a livestream on Sunday, which can be accessed at: https://www.istanbulyarimaratonu.com/en/
“We have worked for a long time to improve our 16 year-old course and to make it one of the most historic and enjoyable courses in the world, as well as one of the fastest. We succeeded in developing the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon further and even had a world record here a year ago,” said Renay Onur, the Race Director of the event which is staged by Spor Istanbul. With regard to Sunday’s race he said: “Our elite field is of high quality. With two men having recently achieved sub-59 times, we have a chance that our course record will fall. On the women’s side, I am happy that Hellen Obiri is back. I believe she can go even faster since weather conditions seem to be fine on Sunday. We invite all sport lovers to enjoy this race.”
Hellen Obiri is ready for another very fast race. “If weather conditions and pacemaking are good then I will try to break my personal best. Whenever I come to such a race it is my goal to run well and improve my time,” said the 32 year-old who improved to 64:22 when she was second in the Ras Al Khaimah half marathon in the United Arab Emirates in February. Since then she has been training in the Ngong hills near Nairobi. “I am in much better form now than I was before Ras Al Khaimah,” said Hellen Obiri. Asked about the course record, which is also the Kenyan record, she answered: “The course record will be a tough challenge. But we have a very strong field, so we will definitely give it a try.”
Hellen Obiri will indeed face very strong competition in Istanbul. Fellow-Kenyan Vicoty Chepngeno has an outstanding half marathon record. She ran 14 half marathons since 2018 and won eleven of them. The 28 year-old is undefeated in her past six races at the distance and improved to a world-class time of 65:03 when she took the Houston half marathon in January.
Ethiopian trio Tsehay Gemechu (PB: 65:08), Nigsti Haftu (66:17), Bekelech Gudeta (66:54) and Turkey’s multiple European long distance champion Yasemin Can (66:20) are the other women who have already run below 67:00. Tsehay Gemechu has a very strong half marathon record as well. She has won four of her five races and is the reigning champion of the Copenhagen half marathon where she clocked her PB last year.
In the men’s race there will be an attack on the course record, which was established last year by Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie with 59:35. “We will both be going for the course record and a personal best,“ said Daniel Mateiko and Rodgers Kwemoi, who are training partners and belong to the group of Eliud Kipchoge based at Kaptagat. Mateiko improved by almost a full minute to 58:26 when he was third in Valencia in 2021 while Kwemoi was runner-up in Ras Al Khaimah in February with a strong PB of 58:30. “I am now in better form than I was in Ras Al Khaimah,” said Rodgers Kwemoi.
Two other runners in the field have already broken the one hour barrier: Kenyans Josphat Tanui and Edmond Kipngetich have personal bests of 59:22 and 59:41 respectively.