BATH HALF MARATHON: Best of British set to battle it out in big race
Race director Andrew Taylor reckons that Sunday’s 32nd Bath Half Marathon could spring a few surprises.
While an African is almost certain to win the men’s title for a tenth successive year, the contest for the top Brit accolade looks set to be a keen one.
“We do everything we can to encourage and incentivise the British runners to come here and I think we will have as strong a field as any of the other leading half marathons in the country this year,” said Taylor.
“I think both the men’s and women’s races are wide open as far as the Brits are concerned. Obviously it will depend on who turns up and what shape they are in on the day but that makes for an exciting race and certainly one to watch.
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“Some races are pretty predictable but this one certainly isn’t.”
On paper, the leading British contenders will be internationals Phil Wick and Paul Martelletti, who boast personal bests of 62mins 51secs and 65:19 respectively.
However, their bids for overall victory face a daunting challenge from young Kenyan duo Matthew Kiprotich Kimutai and Peter Emase, who have both declared they want to run 62 minutes.
“Edwin Kiptoo gave us a new men’s course record of 62:01 last year and I know their agent would love someone to get under 62 minutes but that will be tough,” added Taylor.
Kenyas Jane Muia will be favourite to retain her women’s title, with Susan Partridge and Alyson Dixon heading the British challenge.
Taylor – who is taking charge of his 14th Bath Half, having been involved with the organisation since 1997 – knows that the chilly March weather is ill-suited for super fast times.
But that will not bother the other 99.9 per cent of the sell-out field, who will take to the streets seeking their own personal success stories.
“We were given the accolade of most atmospheric spectator event by Runners’ World magazine last year, beating the likes of the Great North Run, which is amazing for a small city like Bath,” said Taylor.
“I think it is a fantastic spectator event and I can already feel there is a great excitement around the streets.”