Can Zersenay Tadese lower his half-marathon world record of 58:23 on Sunday?

LISBON, Portugal — World record holder Zersenay Tadese headlines a world-class elite field on Sunday morning at the EDP Rock ‘n’ Roll Lisbon Marathon & Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Vodafone RTP in Portugal. Eritrea’s Tadese will return to race in the city where he set the half marathon world record of 58 minutes, 23 seconds in 2010.

One of Lisbon’s two prestigious half marathons, the Portugal Half Marathon was rebranded as part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series in 2012. Last year the event included a marathon for the first time, which was awarded an IAAF Road Race Gold Label, the highest certification in road running, by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

The elite field in the marathon includes seven men who have run faster than 2:10, including Kenyan Philip Kimutai who has run sub-2:07 three times each of the past three years. Joining Kimutai will be his compatriots Lawrence Kimayo (2:07:01), Samuel Ndungu (2:07:04) and Robert Kwambai (2:08:48). The strong field puts Portugal’s All-Comers record of 2:09:46 in jeopardy.

Sunday’s top competitors also include Ethiopia’s Dereje Debele Tulu, who set his PR of 2:07:48 in route to winning the Duesseldorf Marathon last year; Ukraine’s Oleksandr Sitkovskiy, who won the Firenze Marathon with a personal best time of 2:09:14, which was also the second best performance by a European runner last year; Zimbabwe’s Cutbert Nyasango, a 2012 Olympic marathoner who set his PR of 2:09:52 finishing third at the Prague Marathon in May.

In the women’s marathon, defending champion Agnes Kiprop will look to bring her winning time last year of 2:31:15 more in line with her PR of 2:23.54. She’ll likely get her most serious challenge from Ethiopians Azalech Masresha (2:25.34) and Aberu Mekuria Zennebe (2:26:07). Italy’s Emma Quaglia, who finished 6th in the marathon at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, is also in the field.

The half marathon field will be chasing Tadese’s world record of 58:23 and the course record of 1:00:19 set last year by Wilson Kiprop of Kenya. He will be challenged by three men with sub-60 minute personal bests: Stephen Kibet of Kenya (58:54), Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia (59:54) and Aziz Lahbabi of Morocco (59:25), winner of the prestigious Rome-Ostia Half Marathon in March. Italy’s Daniele Meucci, who won the European Championship marathon title, and Ethiopia’s Ibrahim Jeilan, the 2011 IAAF World Championships 10,000m gold medalist, will also be competing.

Sunday’s half-marathon features twelve men with sub-62 minute personal best times and seven women having run sub-71:00. The leading women’s entrant is two-time Olympian Nadia Ejjafinni of Italy, who owns the fastest PR in the field (1:08:27). Favorites among those aligned against her will be Ethiopian’s Godfay Afera (1:09:52) and Ababel Yeshaneh (1:09:54), along with Kenya’s Gorreti Jepkoech (1:09.35).

Rock ‘n’ Roll Lisbon – Professional Field

As of Thursday, October 2, 2014

NAME, COUNTRY, PERSONAL BEST

Marathon – MEN
Philip Sanga Kimutai, KEN, 2:06:07
Lawrence Kimayo, KEN, 2:07:01
Samuel Ndungu, KEN, 2:07:04
Dereje Debele Tulu, ETH, 2:07:48
Robert Kwambai, KEN, 2:08:48
Oleksandr Sitkovskiy, UKR, 2:09.14
Cutbert Nyasango, ZIM, 2:09:52
Getachew Abayu Girma, ETH, 2:10.45
Solomon Tsege, ETI, 2:11:47
Carlos Silva, POR, Debut

Marathon – WOMEN
Agnes Jepkemboi Kiprop, KEN, 2:23:54
Azalech Masresha, ETH, 2:25.34
Aberu Mekuria Zennebe, ETH, 2:26:07
Emma Quaglia, ITA, 2.28:15
Visiline Jepkesho, KEN, 2.28:40
Elfnesh Melaku, ETH, 2:31.41

Half Marathon – Men
Zersenay Tadese, ERI, 58:23
Daniele Meucci, ITA, 1:01:05
Alexei Reunkov, RUS, 1:03:00
Stephen Kosgei Kibet, KEN, 58:54
Mosinet Geremew, ETH, 59:54
Goiton Kifle, ERI, 1:00:20
Yared Asmeron, ERI, 1:00:28
Geofrey Kusuro, UGA, 1:00:40
Fredrick Kipchumba Ngeny, KEN, 1:01:37
Teklemariam Medhin, ERI, 1:01:47
Ibrahim Jeilan Gashu, ETH, 1:01:47
Takumi Kiyotani, JAP, 1:02:15
Dai Nakahara, JAP, 1:03:04
Alex Oloitiptit , KEN, debut
Aziz Lahbabi, MOR, 59:25
Abderrahime Bouramdane, MOR, 1:02:40
Hermano Ferreira, POR, 1:01:24
Pedro Ribeiro, POR, 1:05:20
Yousef El Kalai, POR, 1:03:07
Paulo Pinheiro, POR, Debut

Half Marathon – Women
Nadia Ejjafinni, ITA, 1:08:27
Godfay Afera, ETH, 1:09:52
Gorreti Jepkoech, KEN, 1:09:35
Ababel Yeshaneh, ETH, 1:09:54
Purity Rionoripo, KEN, 1:10:40
Ana Dias, POR, 1:10:28
Sara Moreira, POR, 1:10:50
Doroteia Peixoto, POR, 1:14:51