Defending champions Belihu and Gemechu to chase Airtel Delhi Half Marathon course records

Elite athletes (photo credit: Procam International.)

Defending Airtel Delhi Half Marathon champions Andamlak Belihu and Tsehay Gemechu made their intentions clear at the traditional pre-event press conference, the Ethiopian pair are going all out to attack the IAAF Gold Label Road Race’s course records on Sunday 20th October.

Belihu won in India’s capital city last year in 59:18, just missing out on the course record of 59:06 held since 2014 by his compatriot Guye Adola.

In 2019, he has represented his nation at both the World Cross Country Championships and World Athletics Championships, finishing fifth over 10,000 m at the latter event less than two weeks ago.

“ I had two to three months of very good training before the world championships. I was preparing for Doha but also remembering what I wanted to do here,” commented Belihu, who is still only 20.

“It was a little frustrating just missing out on the course record last year but after coming here and doing well in Delhi in the last two years, I have experience and think I know what it takes go faster. The most important thing is to win but if the pace is good, I can beat the course record.”

Belihu’s one road outing this year was when he returned to India in May to win the TCS World 10K in Bengaluru, another IAAF Gold Label Road Race promoted by ADHM organisers Procam International.

Seven men in the ADHM 2019 have run under the world class benchmark of one hour but a big threat to Belihu’s bid to retain his title is expected to come from a man who has yet to run the distance, Hagos Gebrhiwet.

Gebrhiwet had planned to make his half marathon debut in Delhi last year but a late bout of illness curtailed his training and he had to cancel his trip.

However, the two-time world championships 5000 m medallist is in Delhi this time around and wants to exorcise his frustrations at only being able to finish 10th in the Doha 10,000m, despite having gone to the world championships as the fastest man in the world over 25 laps of the track.

“I am excited to make my debut at the half marathon. Andamlak has told me about this race and so I know that it is a very fast course,” said Gebrhiwet, who will be running his longest ever competitive race on Sunday and so going into unknown territory despite his championship credentials.

Source: Press Release