FIVE Rwandans join the rest of the world elite runners in battle for a share of the $245,000 purse staked for winners in today’s IAAF / EDF Energy World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham, England.
Eric Sebahire, Sylvain Rukundo, Jean Baptista Simuceka, Gervais Hakizimana and the lone female runner Claudette Mukasakindi will be aiming at finishing among the top six individuals and teams in both men and women’s races.
Without the experienced Dieudonne Disi, who has finished sixth twice in the past two editions held in Udine and Rio de Janiero, the team will be hoping for a better finish to bring pride to the country.
Mukasakindi and Sebahire are making their debut appearances at this championship while Rukundo, Hakizimana and Simuceka are making their third appearance.
Meanwhile, defending champion Zersenay Tadese is the favourite to win the global road running title for a fourth consecutive year.
The Eritrean Tadese led his country to team silver in Rio de Janeiro but of his four compatriots last time only Teame Yemane, who finished 35th in 2008 will run today.
Tadese will face the mighty Kenyan resistance of Sammy Kitwara, the winner of the Rotterdam Half Marathon, Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, Bernard Kiprop Kipyego and Wilson Kwambai Chebet.
Meanwhile, Disi who won gold in the just concluded Francophone Games is competing in the Paris 20km race this morning.
The 20 KM de Paris attracts some 20,000 runners every year, and provides thousands of Euros up for grabs as prize money.