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Elite athlete line-up announced for 2022 Wizz Air Cardiff Half Marathon

Cardiff Half Marathon Start Line

The Wizz Air Cardiff Half Marathon will feature its strongest elite field to date when it returns on Sunday 2 October, with more nationalities represented than ever before. The packed line-up mirrors the mass race which is expected to have the most international representation in the race’s history.

It comes as the race has joined the new international SuperHalfs series along with events in Prague, Lisbon, Copenhagen and Valencia – leading to a significant increase in runners from outside Wales signing up to take part, from both across the UK and overseas.

Cardiff Half Marathon Start Line

Elite runners from Canada, Djibouti, Great Britain, Ethiopia, Kenya, New Zealand, Norway and Uganda are expected to make up tightly contested races in both the men’s and women’s races.

Carmarthenshire’s Dewi Griffiths (61:33) headlines domestic interest having recently finished 11th at the recent Commonwealth Games marathon in Birmingham, and will be joined by fast half marathon athletes from across the globe.

Gimechu Dida of Ethiopia (59:21) is currently the fastest athlete in the men’s field, having won the hugely prestigious Great Ethiopian Run in 2022.

Geoffrey Koech winning the 2019 Birell Prague Grand Prix

Geoffrey Koech of Kenya (59:32) is a prolific racer and became the fourth fastest athlete in history when he won the Birell Prague Grand Prix (10km) in 27:04 in 2019. Namesake Geoffrey Yegon (59:44) has multiple half marathon wins to his name including victories in the Hague, Hamburg and Venlo.

Gizealaw Abeje Ayana (59:41) is next fastest and was second at the Poznan Half Marathon last year. Hailemaryam Kiros (60:01) came agonisingly close to the hour mark at the World Half Marathon Championships whilst competing for Ethiopia in Poland in 2020 and is joined by Countryman Chimdessa Gudetta (60:15) who won the Laredo 10K in 27:23 earlier this year.

Djamal Abdi Direh of Djibouti (61:35) is the national record holder for Djibouti for Half Marathon, formerly a track specialist, he was the Silver medallist at the 2016 World Junior Championships over 5,000m with a best for the distance of 13:13. Canadian Athlete Ben Preisner (63:08) is a 2:10:17 performer in the marathon and will chase the Canadian record of 61:08 in Cardiff.

England’s Kieran Clements (64:31) and Norman Shreeve (64:34) are the fastest amongst domestic entrants to rival Dewi Griffiths in a battle of the home nations.

The women’s elite race will be headlined by Kenyan athlete Viola Chepngeno (66:48), who is the fastest on paper to date and was the winner of the Ghent Half Marathon in Belgium earlier this year.

Alemitu Tariku (right) claiming Silver at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships

Alemitu Tariku of Ethiopia (67:58) was the Silver medallist at the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus in 2019. She will be joined by Mercyline Chelangat of Uganda (68:27), who is another medallist from a major Championships, competing in Cardiff following her Bronze medal over 10,000m at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018. Meseret Gebre is an exciting debutant following her victory at the 2022 Zurich Barcelona Marathon in 2:23:11.

Wales’ second fastest athlete in history and marathon specialist Clara Evans (70:17) will lead Welsh hopes in Cardiff, and will be joined by Tracy Barlow (72:12) and Phillipa Bowden (73:29) in the battle for domestic Cardiff Half glory.

Run 4 Wales Chief Executive, Matt Newman, commented: “We’re delighted that the Wizz Air Cardiff Half Marathon is returning to its traditional autumn slot on Sunday 2 October, for the first time in three years and since before the pandemic. 

“Although three years have passed, there have been some exciting developments including the award of a World Athletics Elite Road Race Label and the launch of the new SuperHalfs series. Our team have been working hard behind the scenes to assemble a fantastic elite field, and we’re looking forward to an exciting day of half marathon racing in the Welsh capital.

We hope to see the course records in both the men’s (59:30) and women’s (65:52) races fall!”.

The 2022 race sold out earlier in the summer, just three and half months after going on sale, but entries remain available via official charities. It will be the second outing of the Cardiff Half in 2022, with the postponed 2020 race held in March.

As part of the new SuperHalfs series, mass race runners in Cardiff will be able to collect a virtual stamp in an e-passport upon finishing the race as part of a challenge to complete the five-race circuit and earn a SuperMedal.