MUSCAT: Muscat will welcome a world class international field of athletes for the Al Mouj Muscat Full and Half Marathon on Friday. The 10th edition of the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon will be held on November 11 and 12 and will be the biggest race to date with a record 12,000 runners competing this year.
Headlining the half marathon is Italy’s Eyob Faniel who after an injury-hit campaign is ready to get his season back on track. Finishing third at the 2021 New York Marathon, he is looking forward to finishing 2022 with a winning streak having had only four outings since the turn of the year.
Speaking ahead of the trip from his training camp in Kenya, Eyob said, “I am looking forward to competing at Al Mouj Muscat Half Marathon. I haven’t raced since May, so I am really excited to get back out on the roads and test myself at a new and exciting venue.”
Although Eyob holds the fastest time in the field with a personal best of 1.00.07, it is certain that he will have to keep up his competitive spirit over 21.1 km, as he is expected to face a stern challenge from his East African rivals from Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.
Ugandan Isaac Kibet was third at the Lisbon Half Marathon last year and has a 1.00.20 personal best, and from Tanzania, Inyasi Sulley fresh off a half marathon debut win in the Netherlands are likely to be his biggest challengers.
The women’s race is shaping up to be a tight contest with the fastest lady being Aynadis Mebratu, who has a best of 1.07.45 and finished second at the Porto Half Marathon in September in a respectable 1.09.39.
Also, likely to feature are fellow Ethiopian’s Alamrew Tirusew and Kalkiden Debab. Mayselina Mbua of Tanzania impressed on her debut earlier this year in the Netherlands and is a serious contender along with debutant Mercyline Cherono of Kenya.
The Al Mouj Muscat Marathon also welcomes an intriguing array of international talent from East Africa.
The standout athlete is Ugandan Jackson Kiprop who was third in Muscat in 2019 edition of the race and holds a personal best of 2.08.28. He also represented Uganda at the World Championships in Eugene this summer. Burundian Onesphore Nzikwinkunda should be in contention too as he aims to lower his 2.11.42 personal best. Eliud will lead the Kenyan challenge with a best of just outside 2.10.
The women’s marathon offers three ladies their first opportunity of a race outside of Kenya. All three athletes have competed well in their native country and runners Emmah Ndiwa, Sophy Jepchirchir and Norah Chebet are expected to challenge for their first international title here in Muscat.
Also to watch out for is Ethiopia’s Kidist Fiseha who has competed internationally in Gunsan, South Korea, finishing third in 2.36.18.