British distance runners Marc Scott and Callum Hawkins are also set to race 13.1 miles while Haile Gebrselassie and Jo Pavey will run the one mile fun run this weekend
Ethiopian distance running stars Ethiopians Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Jemal Yimer lead a world-class line-up at the ‘Mid & East Antrim’ Antrim Coast Half Marathon in Larne, Northern Ireland, on Sunday (Aug 28). There is plenty of British interest too with Marc Scott and Callum Hawkins among the entries.
The event, which is set to be covered live on BBC online from 8.55am, sees Yehualaw coming into this year’s race having broken the women’s world record over 10km with 29:14 in Castellon, Spain, earlier this year, in addition to running the fastest female debut marathon ever of 2:17:23 in Hamburg in April.
At the Antrim Coast event last year she appeared to break the world record for 13.1 miles with 63:43 but was denied the mark due to the course being found to be 54 metres short.
Yehualaw will be joined at this year’s Antrim Coast event by her training partner Tsehay Gemechu. The 23-year-old Ethiopian comes to this year’s with a personal best of 65:08 and has been winner of the Lisbon Half-Marathon two years in a row and Copenhagen Half-Marathon in 2021.
In addition for this World Athletics Elite Label road race there is Gete Alemayehu, who recorded 66:37 for second in Barcelona Half-Marathon in April. Beatrice Chepkemoi of Kenya, who has a PB of 67:29, will make it four women who have run under 67:30.
Three male pacemakers have been lined up and there is Northern Ireland interest courtesy of Emma Mitchell, Fionnuala Ross and Hannah Irwin.
The men’s field is led by Ethiopian record-holder and last year’s winner, Yimer. He is the quickest in the race with a PB of 58:33 but faces fellow Ethiopian Tesfahun Akalnew, who was was runner-up in Larne 12 months ago and has subsequently recorded a 2:06:55 marathon in Amsterdam.
Bethwel Birgen of Kenya is set to set the pace with Scott in particular hoping to be dragged under the 60 minute barrier. The Brit was not at his best in this summer’s track championships but has great pedigree on the roads after having won the Great North Run last year.
Could he get close to Mo Farah’s British record of 59:32 set in Lisbon seven years ago?
Also in the line-up are Shadrack Kimining of Kenya, Huseydin Mahamed of Ethiopia and Gizealew Ayana of Kenya, all of whom have broken the 60-minute barrier in the past.
Northern Ireland’s Stephen Scullion is also due to run plus Omar Ahmed of Birchfield Harriers.
The event has also secured a major coup with the signing of Haile Gebrselassie. The 49-year-old, who won multiple global titles during his career, will run the inaugural Antrim Coast Classic Street Mile for fun with Jo Pavey, young athletes and parents on Saturday evening (Aug 27) before joining race director James McIlroy to commentate on a half-marathon the next day.
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