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The World Half Marathon records are at stake as Kenyan and Ethiopian runners take over the Prague half-marathon on Saturday with the resumption of road races after the COVID-19 disruptive season.

The organizers have assembled a strong field in both men’s and women’s events with the sole aim of breaking men’s 58:30 and women’s 1:06:01.

The star-studded half-marathon is limited to 35 of the most celebrated distance runners in the world currently.

Men and women will compete separately, running on a flat, fast oval course through Letna Park in Prague in 16.5 laps. A course and a field designed to wage an all-out assault on the current world record.

Two Kenyan women, Peres Jepchirir and Edith Chelimo, will be up against Ethiopian’s world half-marathon women-only record holder Netsanet Gudeta.

However, the men’s race sees the withdrawal of the 2018 Prague half-marathon champion Joan Chelimo who cited unpreparedness.

Stephen Kiprop, Kibiwott Kandie and Benard Kimeli, all from Kenya, will be aiming to break the world record of 58.01 currently being held by their compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor.

Kandie holds the fastest time of 58:58 this year when he won the RAK Half in the UAE in February.

“Assembling this field of runners turned out to be a monumental feat. And that was only the start. Ensuring their health and safety posed other challenges. But we have established a set of protocols designed to make sure that no one is compromised,” said Carlo Capalbo, the president of the Runczech organizing committee in a press statement on Tuesday.

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