Elite field announced for Cardiff Half Marathon

Cardiff Half Marathon

Britain’s best distance runners will battle two former Lloyds Bank Cardiff Half Marathon winners at the fifth race in the Grand Prix that takes place on Sunday.

For points in the Grand Prix, British titles and places in the GB & NI team for next March’s IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships, this year’s Lloyds Bank Cardiff Half Marathon has attracted its best-ever field.

In the men’s race 2014 champion Boniface Kongin returns to defend his crown but he will face stiff competition from the man he took the title from, 2013 winner Loitarakwai Lengurisi, and an African contingent that includes Ethiopian duo Dejene Dezimu and Assefa Bekele and Uganda’s Ben Siwa.

An intriguing contest is set to take place for the British Half Marathon Championships with 2014 winner Ryan McLeod (handicap -5.2)  back to defend his title. Jonny Hay (handicap -4.3) has the quickest personal best of the British athletes with 64:09. However, Ryan and Jonny have both only done one Grand Prix race this year. Runners in contention for the top men’s individual prize of £2,000, in the Grand Prix, include Paul Martelletti (handicap -4.6), who is currently 3rd, in the men's standings, with 1035 points from four races and 2013 winner Nick Torry (handicap -4.0) who is 11th with 725 points from three races.

Luton’s Ian Kimpton (handicap -5.1) who is 14th with 691 points from two races will also line up, along with Glasgow 2014 10,000m runner Dewi Griffiths (handicap -5.5) who is clear favourite to win the Welsh Half Marathon title he last won in 2013. Dewi has only run one of the other races, so far, but is currently in 7th. His high scores, for top places and sub-29:30 at both the Bupa London 10000 (445 points) and the Cardiff 10k (449 points) give him an impressive score of 894 with two races still to go.

John Beattie (handicap -4.8) is currently leading the Grand Prix with 1485 points from four races but will miss this one after running the BMW Berlin Marathon last weekend in 2:18:12.

With no returning winners in the women’s race, Kenya’s Merci Jemutai-Tanui should take the title. Jemutai-Tanui is ranked 19th in the IAAF World Rankings for 2015 and with a personal best of 68:42 she could better Susan Partridge’s current course record of 71:10 set in 2012.

Two veterans should challenge at the front end of the women’s field for the British Half Marathon Championships title. Last year’s winner, 45-year-old Emma Stepto (handicap 0.0) is back but the quickest personal best of the British athletes in the field belongs to former GB international and mother-of-three Michelle Ross-Cope (handicap -0.9) . Emma is currently 4th in the women's standings, in the Grand Prix, with 732 points from three races and Michelle is 10th with 498 from two races.

 Lauren Deadman (handicap -0.8) will make her debut over the half marathon distance. She has only done one race in the series this year, the Bristol 10k, and has 247 points.

2014 and 2013 Welsh Half Marathon champions Emma Wookey (handicap 1.4) and Jessica Parry-Williams (handicap 2.2) will renew their rivalry in Cardiff, as they go head-to-head for this year’s title. Emma is currently 15th on the table and has 477 points from two races and Jessica is 75th with 238 points from the Cardiff 10k.