Monday, March 19, 2012

Press Release


Prague/ Prague is getting ready for the fastest half-marathon of all times. Leonard Patrick Komon, world record holder in the 10 km and 15 km has chosen Prague as his first ever half-marathon race. And on top of that he has announced his designs on smashing the world record!

"We are trying to turn our dreams into reality. And this will be one of those dreams. I would like to tell you about one other matter. A matter of global importance – that of his assault on the world record, that would be a first here in Prague" said Carlo Capalbo, President of the Organising Committee for the Prague International Marathon spol. s r.o. (PIM).

Komon, a 24 year old long-distance runner from Kenya, should be spurred on to achieving a record time by two pacemakers from his team, Rono and Chesari. His two fellow compatriots should also be able to contribute with this. Last year’s winner Philemon Limo was the first to run the course on Czech soil in under one hour (59:30). Kenneth Kipkemoi will also be coming along who just last week managed the third fastest time so far this year at 59:11 at the City-Pier-City in The Hague.

The world record title is currently held by Zersenay Tadese, from Eritrea at 58:23 achieved back in 2010 in Lisbon. "Acquiring such elite start positions involves a huge amount of talks however we are delighted that Leonard chose Prague all by himself. It is a huge honour", says Jana Moberly, Manager for PIM International Athletes. "Prague has now established a name for itself as a place where new stars are born, a fact proven by the likes of Kiptanui and Limo".

The objective of the organisers is to invite more top runners who are able to maintain maximum pace for the longest time possible. Not just one superstar, and beside him a crowd of second-class runners such as in Berlin. "We are also reliant on there being good weather on the day. But we know we have five runners able to run in under one hour" boasts Moberly.

For anyone able to beat the world record, there is a prize of 100 000 Euros which, when converted, amounts to approximately 2.4 million Czech crowns. A further 4000 Euros is up for grabs for scooping up first place and 5000 Euros for the course record. Success this year would be a wonderful way for us to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Gold Hat trick by our legendary runner, Emil Zátopek at the Olympics in Helsinki.

"This piece of news is music to the ears of chairman from the Czech Athletics Federation. I value the work of the PIM organisers and hope that it all works out", says Libor Varhaník, the main man behind Czech athletics.

Komon comes from a family of twelve siblings in the Kenyan Rift Valley, a traditional long- distance hatching ground. As a youngster he had to help out at the family farm and was later to work as a fire-fighter at the airport. In 2008 he was made a substitute runner at the Beijing Olympics. He triumphed with one Silver and one Gold medal at the World Cross Country Championships in 2008 and 2009. In 2009 he smashed both world records on the road, 26:44 in the 10 km in Utrecht and 41:13 in the 15 km in Nijmegen.

The Hervis Prague Half Marathon has been running now since 1999 and boasts the Gold Label from the International Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF. This is indication of its ranking in the highest quality category. Prague is the only organiser in the world to claim the Gold Label for both the marathon and the half-marathon.

Aside from top runners, the Hervis Prague Half Marathon also draws a wide range of other runners. The record capacity of 11 000 start numbers was sold out already two months in advance. We are also expecting ten thousand spectators to come along and adorn the beautiful backdrop of the historical city centre through which the course leads. This year the course will be modified slightly in two areas of Podolí. "We will be adding in Plavecka and Botičska streets, instead of Vnislavova street ensuring runners have more space and don’t collide with one another when meeting in opposite directions", said Václav Skřivánek from the Organising Committee.

 - Prague International Marathon spol. s r.o.

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