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There are a number of top-flight athletes who are currently in world-class condition left wondering what to do with their winter race schedule.

Kenyans Kibiwott Kandie (WR, 57:32), Brigid Kosgei (MiWR 64:28), Peres Jepchirchir (WoWR 65:16), were scheduled to race the RAK Half Marathon this month. Also, top Ethiopians Mosinet Geremew and Alexander Mutiso Munyao were in. And there was Eilish McColgan ready to debut in the half-marathon in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, February 19.

McColgan was ready to toe-the-line, however fully appreciated the organiser’s decision to cancel the event. McColgan told Athletics Illustrated, “I have full respect and understanding for the race being organised [and cancelled] and actually have had one of my best ever training camps out here in the UAE despite the cancelled race.” 

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – JUNE 27: A portrait of Eilish McColgan a member of the Great Britain Olympic team during the Team GB Kitting Out ahead of Rio 2016 Olympic Games on June 27, 2016 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

It would have also been Kenyan, Hellen Obiri’s, debut at the distance. Both McColgan and Obiri are national 5000m record holders. The race would have been at least on par (performance-wise) with the 2020 Valencia Half Marathon that took place on December 6, where four men ran faster than Geoffrey Kamworwor’s world record of 58:01.

As for the Olympics, McColgan plans to compete in either or both of the 5000m and 10,000m in Tokyo.

During a July 2019 interview with Athletics Illustrated McColgan said, “I’ll definitely be looking to run a marathon after the Tokyo Olympics. I feel like that will be a great place to move on into something a little different and to challenge myself in new ways!”

She owns a 5,000m best of 14:46.17 and has run as fast as 31:16.76 in the 10,000m.

She competed in the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympic Games. McColgan also competed in the 2014 Glasgow and 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. McColgan earned a silver medal in the 2018 Berlin European Championships in the 5,000m event.

WoWR: Women’s only race, world record.
MixWR: Women’s world record in mixed gender race.
WR: World record.