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In the men's race, Nike Oregon Project's Galen Rupp will contend as a tune-up for his Boston Marathon debut. Rupp is returning from a 2016 season in which he earned an Olympic bronze medal in the marathon. The performance marked Rupp's second marathon of his career. The race also took place just eight days after Rupp finished fifth in the 10K at the Games.
Rupp was set to run the Houston Half Marathon in January but was forced to withdraw due to plantar fasciitis in his foot. The Prague Half Marathon will be Rupp's first race of the year and could put Ryan Hall's American record in jeopardy. Hall's American record of 59:43 was run at the 2007 Houston Half Marathon. To qualify for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials, Rupp ran a 61:20 half marathon in December of 2015. His personal best of 60:30 is from the 2011 New York City Half Marathon.
Since making the decision to focus on the road running circuit over a year ago, Rupp has notched marathon performances of 2:11:13, which won the Olympic Trials, and 2:10:05, which earned Olympic bronze behind champion Eliud Kipchoge and silver medalist Feyisa Lilesa.
Rupp will face stiff competition in Prague from Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia, who earned a bronze medal in the 10K at the Olympic Games. He also finished fifth in the half-marathon world championships last year. Barselius Kipyego, Leonard Patrick Komon, Geoffrey Yegon, and Vincent Yator are all entered with sub-60:00 personal bests and should push the pace below the hour mark.
On the women's side, world half-marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir will contend after breaking the world record at the RAK Half Marathon on Feb. 10. She ran 65:06 to break the previous two-year-old record set by Florence Kiplagat. Defending champion Violah Jepchumba will be returning in an attempt to defend her title.
The Nike Oregon Project's Jordan Hasay will also compete after setting a personal best and fourth-place finish at the Houston Half Marathon. Hasay ran 68:40 to become the sixth-fastest American of all time. The half-marathon performances in Houston and Prague are in preparation for her marathon debut in Boston.
Hasay made the decision to transition to the roads after a disappointing track season in which she finished 13th in the 5K and ninth in the 10K at the Olympic Trials. With a stellar start in the half-marathon, the transition is already showing signs of promise in the marathon.
Watch the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon competition take place live on FloTrack beginning at 4 AM ET/3 AM CT on April 1.