Can Jeilan emulate Bekele on his Half-marathon debut in Lisbon?

Jeilan and MergaEthiopia’s Ibrahim Jeilan, the 2011 IAAF World Championships 10,000m gold medallist and silver medallist over the same distance in Moscow, will attempt his first Half Marathon when he competes at the Rock’n’Roll Vodafone Half Marathon of Portugal in Lisbon on Sunday (6).

All eyes will be on Jeilan to see whether he can make as big an impact on his debut over the distance at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race as his illustrious compatriot Kenenisa Bekele did at the recent Bupa Great North Run, another ever in the top echelon of IAAF Road Race events.

Jeilan longest competitive outing so far has been over 15km and he hasn’t run over that distance since 2009 and, just like Bekele did when he duelled with Great Britain’s Mo Farah, Jeilan will also have to fend off some of the world’s top distance runners if he is to emerge triumphant in the Portuguese capital.

The classy Lisbon field includes three men who have already run under one hour in their careers.

One of that trio is Jeilan’s compatriot Imane Merga, the silver medallist at 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championship. read more

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