Elite men

The favourite in the men’s field is Brian Kwemoi whose time of 59:37 in Beijing last year was the fastest ever on Chinese soil. The 24-year-old starts a busy spring campaign in Naples and expects fast time, as he looks towards the Lisbon Half Marathon in March. Then he will take in marathon pacing duties in April. Fellow Kenyan Benard Biwott, who at just 21 already has a half marathon best of 59:44, will be in close contention along with Anthony Kimtai who on his debut in Lisbon in 2023 ran 1:00:30.

Heading up the European challenge is Great Britain’s Emile Cairess. Cairess is one of the most exciting marathon prospects in this Olympic year with a debut at the London Marathon in 2023 of 2:08:07. His personal best (PB) of 1:00:32 looks likely to be bettered here in Naples, in what is the first race of 2024 for the 26-year-old.

Cairess is joined on the start line by fellow European Damian Vich. The Czech has a road 10km PB of 29:07 and is making his half marathon international debut. He ran his first half in hot weather Usti nad Labem, Czechia, last September in 1:06:11 and is eager to set a new PB. They are accompanied by local Italian favourite Yassime Rachik. Rachik has had two years out with injury and will be looking to better his PB of 1:02:29 set back in 2019.
                                                                                                                                                 
New additions to this already strong field are Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew who is 6th on the marathon all-time list, boasting a 2:02:55 best time from 5 years ago. He has the fastest time in the field, with a half marathon PB of 59:11 from 2014. Joining him is fellow countryman is Mulugetu Debasu, who has a marathon in the time of 2:06:36 and makes his half marathon debut here.

Elite women

In the women’s race, the record set by Viola Cheptoo in 2020 could be under threat thanks to a lineup that includes Angela Tanui who won the race in 2019. She currently has a half marathon best of 1:07:16 from RomeOstia and in 2022 finished 4th in the Tokyo Marathon in a time of 2:18:42.

Italy too, has their star in the form of Sofiia Yaremchuk. Having recently broken the Italian record for the marathon by 28 seconds, she has already been close to the Italian Half Marathon record missing it by only 22 seconds when running 1:08:49 last year. She will be keen to improve on her third place here in 2022. Accompanying her is German Kristina Hendel. She boasts several Croatian titles over 3000m and has a personal best from Istanbul in 2022 of 1:10:38.

The race director Carlo Capalbo says, “We are looking forward to witnessing two very closely fought races, and with such great competition from around the world lining up here in Napoli, we are excited at the possibility of new course records in both the men’s and women’s events.”

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