With over 100 runners in the International elite race, over 400 in the sub- elite and with record numbers entering the mass race, this year’s Antrim Coast Half Marathon will be arguably one of the best half marathons in Europe – and one of the greatest ever in the United Kingdom.
Men’s Elite Race
The men’s race has 7 men confirmed who have run under the 60 – minute barrier.
Headlining the African contingent will be Jemal Yimer – winner of the Valencia Half marathon in 2018. The current 6th fastest man of all time, Ethiopian record holder and ranked No.2 in the World for the last 2 years, with a PB of 58:32 will be looking to better his own personal best on the super-fast route.
Joining Yimer will be fellow countryman Tesfahun Akalnew, the 21-year-old sensation, with a personal best time of 59:22 from the New Delhi half marathon will also look to better his time at this year’s event.
Shadrack Kimining, one of 3 Kenyans confirmed in this year’s race, twice breaking 60 minutes last year, placing 3rd in Houston and running a pb in New Delhi with a time of 59:27 is also a confirmed starter.
Abrar Osman the Eritrean Olympic finalist and bronze medallist is looking to better his personal best of 59.47 set at the Lisbon International half marathon. A former winner of the African Games, he was 7th in the World Half marathon championships in Cardiff in 2016.
Kenya’s latest star Daniel Mateiko, part of the postponed 2021 Kenyan World Cross Country team will be competing in his first ever half marathon after his world-class 10,000 m debut in Hengelo last month, recording a time of 27:03, the fastest ever debut 10,000metres.
With hopefully one global superstar still to announce, the British challenge will come from last year’s 2nd place finisher, 2 x European record holder and 2nd fastest Briton all-time over 10,000m Marc Scott, looking to break the 60 -minute barrier for the 1st time, returning fresh from the 5000m/10,000m double at the Tokyo Olympics.
British Olympian and Berlin marathon 5th placer Scott Overall will also return to this year’s race.
The Irish contingent in the Men’s race will be headlined by 4 Olympian’s young and old. Belfast native Paul Pollock, post Tokyo Olympics will be looking to better his 62:09 and reclaim his Northern Ireland record broken at last year’s race by Stephen Scullion. Tommy Hughes will also be looking to better his own Vets World Record set at last year’s race.
Irish Olympians Hugh Armstrong and Mick Clohisey have also confirmed their spots on the start line along with Irish half marathon champion Yared Darese and Irish marathon champion Gary O’Hanlon.
With England and Northern Ireland teams announced at the end of July, the elite Men’s list with over 100 participants will be arguably the greatest ever assembled in UK or Ireland.
Women’s Elite race
The Women’s race will be headlined by Ethiopian sensation and 3rd fastest ever Yalemzerf Yehualaw targeting the World Record on the super-fast course, a feat only ever achieved by Khalid Kannouchi and Paula Radcliffe in the UK, on both occasions set at the London Marathon.
After posting personal bests earlier in the year over the half marathon distance in Istanbul, with a time of 64:40 and running her 1st ever 5000m in Paris last month, in a sensational debut of 14:53 her preparation has been perfect for an assault on the Women’s World record.
Ethiopian stablemate Tsehay Gemechu will arrive fresh from her assault at the Olympic 10,000m in Tokyo, where she will be looking to better her 2x 4th place in the World Championships and 6th in the World Cross country. Gemechu will attack her own personal best of 66 min 0 sec, which she set winning the New Delhi Half marathon in 2019.
2- time World Half marathon medallist Mary Ngugi is also confirmed and will look to get back to her form of 2016 which saw her take the silver medal at the World Half marathon championships in Cardiff, before targeting one of the major city marathons in October.
The British contingent will be headlined by last year’s 4th placer Becky Briggs, Tracey Barlow, and Ellie Davis with Irish distance stars Ann Marie McGlynn and Marie McCambridge also confirmed to start.
Last year’s winner Lily Partridge has had to pull out of defending her title due to an operation on her ankle but has confirmed she will still make the journey to the province to support on the day.
Antrim Coast Kid’s run
The first ever World Athletics Label Series Antrim Coast Kid’s race was officially launched on the 1st July and is open to all Kid’s between 7 and 16 years of age. The course takes in the last 1000m of the half marathon and finishes under the World athletics gantry used for the half marathon.
The Kids Run will be started by 5x time Olympian Jo Pavey, who will be joined by her family, who hope to also take part, as well as a host of other British and Irish running stars to cheer the Junior runners on.
Jo will also double up on her duties on the day as she has agreed to pace the mass runners targeting a sub 2- hour half marathon.
For spectators who can’t attend the World Record attempt on the day, details of the Live Stream will be released at the end of July.