Semi-Marathon de Boulogne-Billancourt: Yitayal Atnafu to defend title

Yitayal atnafu of Ethiopia (Photo: Anthony Chaumontel)
Yitayal atnafu of Ethiopia (Photo: Anthony Chaumontel)

The 20th edition of the Semi-Marathon Boulogne-Billancourt Christian Granger will see Ethiopia’s Yitayal Atnafu defend his title at the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race tomorrow.

Last year’s edition was cancelled following the horrendous series of terrorist attacks which struck Paris on 13 November 2015. Atnafu will be defending the title he won in 2014 when he ran a PB of 1:01:03.

Since then the 23-year-old has moved up to the marathon, making his debut over the distance in 2:12:09 last January before finishing seventh in Paris in April in a best of 2:08:53. He also clocked 28:37 over 10km in May.

But retaining his title won’t be an easy task in the presence of so many high quality runners, namely Edwin Kipyego, who has the fastest PB of the field with a time of 59:30 set 14 months ago.

Women’s Race

The women’s field isn’t as deep as the men’s, but the competition will nevertheless be interesting and will likely come down to a duel between Ethiopian duo Damaris Areba and Zwedenesh Ayele.

Both runners have similar credentials. Areba, 21, set her PB of 1:11:32 last year in Cardiff, while Ayele’s PB is just five seconds slower, having clocked 1:11:37 two years ago when finishing second in Boulogne-Billancourt.

The women’s course record is held by Ethiopia’s 2011 New York Marathon champion Firehiwot Dado, who ran 1:09:26 in 2009.

About 8000 runners will take part in Sunday’s race, making this half marathon one of the most popular in France.

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