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Life without Paula

WORLD HALF MARATHON CHAMPIONSHIPS
Venue: Birmingham Date: 11 October
Coverage: Live on Sky Sports 2

Mark Butler
By Mark Butler
BBC Sport's athletics statistician

What a pity that Paula Radcliffe will be absent from the World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham.

Mary Keitany
Kenyan Keitany is favourite in the women's race in Radcliffe's absence

Her unbeaten streak in these championships will of course remain intact, but in her absence, it would be a sensation if Britain managed to continue its sequence of always providing a host nation victor in the women's race.

Liz McColgan was the champion in Tyneside 1992, then Radcliffe won the second of her three World Half Marathon titles in Bristol 2001.

The British women's squad in Birmingham will still be our strongest in years with all five nominees at 72/73 minute level, but the women's favourite will be Kenyan Mary Keitany who clocked a scorching 67 minutes exactly in Lille last month.

The 1992 staging was also that year's Great North Run and was the first edition of the championships, which take place for the 18th time this week.

It's no surprise that Kenya are far and away the most successful nation in the championships with 29 golds

It was also the most successful ever for Britain as McColgan's gold was backed up with team silvers by both the men and women.

One of the men's team that year, Carl Thackery, went on to win individual bronze in Brussels 1993 and that has remained the highest placing by a British man in this event.

It has to be said that, Radcliffe apart, Britain's recent record in these championships has been poor.

Sarah Wilkinson (19th in 2000) and Mara Yamauchi (18th in 2005) are the only other British athletes to have placed in the top 20 this decade.

606: DEBATE

The best by British man in recent years has been 21st by Matt O'Dowd in 2001, so that could be a target on Sunday for Andrew Lemoncello, who this year has run the fastest half marathon by a British man since 1997.

Britain's men will be competing at the championships for the first time since Bristol 2001.

Nevertheless, Britain's record in this event is better than the USA or Germany, who have yet to win any medal whatsoever.

It's no surprise that Kenya are far and away the most successful nation in the championships with 29 golds, starting with that of the late Benson Masya in 1992. He went on to become a legendary figure at the Great North Run.

Another running legend, Haile Gebrselassie, was the winner at the last British edition eight years ago.

Zersenay Tadese
Tadese will be looking for a third successive world road gold

For Birmingham, the hot favourite is a further familiar visitor to these shores, Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese.

For years he has been drawing great crowds of his compatriots to the Great North Cross Country in Edinburgh.

In 2005 he won the Great North Run with the fastest ever half marathon in Britain, and now he will be looking for a third successive world road gold.

If he can extrapolate from the track form which brought him a world silver at 10,000m in Berlin then the world record figures of Samuel Wanjiru may be under threat.

And not just those at half marathon (58 min 33 sec), because achieving that time would also mean getting near to the official world records at 15Km (41:29) and 20Km (55:48) en route.

Even without Radcliffe, there will be all sorts of statistics to watch for on the streets of Birmingham this Sunday morning.

WORLD HALF MARATHON CHAMPIONSHIPS MEDAL TABLE

CountryGold Silver Bronze Total
Kenya 29 16 11 56
Romania 8 7 9 24
Ethiopia 7 11 11 29
South Africa 5 5 2 12
Great Britain 4 2 2 8
Eritrea 3 4 1 8
Netherlands 3 1 - 4
Italy 3 - 5 8
Tanzania 2 3 5 10
Russia 2 3 3 8
China 2 - - 2
Japan 1 9 8 18
Morocco 1 1 2 4
Belgium 1 - 1 2
Portugal 1 - 1 2
Spain - 2 2 4
Australia - 2 1 3
Mexico - 2 - 2
Qatar - 1 3 4
Argentina - 1 - 1
France - 1 - 1
Norway - 1 - 1
Brazil - - 2 2
Latvia - - 1 1
Uganda - - 1 1
Zimbabwe - - 1 1

PAST WINNERS - MEN

1992 Benson Masya KEN 60:24 (Best Brit: 7, David Lewis 61:17)

1993 Vincent Rousseau BEL 61:06 (3, Carl Thackery 61:13)

1994 Khalid Skah MAR 60:27 (29, Martin McLoughlin 62:45)

1995 Moses Tanui KEN 61:45 (44, Martin McLoughlin 64:27)

1996 Stefano Baldini ITA 61:17 (22, Dave Swanston 63:44)

1997 Shem Kororia KEN 59:56 (53, David Taylor 63:24)

1998 Paul Koech KEN 60:01 (No Brit entry)

1999 Paul Tergat KEN 61:50 (40, Mark Steinle 64:11)

2000 Paul Tergat KEN 63:47 (52, Matthew Vaux-Harvey 69:20)

2001 Haile Gebrselassie ETH 60:03 (21, Matthew O'Dowd 62:40)

2002 Paul Kosgei KEN 60:39 (No Brit entry)

2003 Martin Lel KEN 60:49 (No Brit entry)

2004 Paul Kirui KEN 62:15 (No Brit entry)

2005 Fabiano Joseph TAN 61:08 (No Brit entry)

2006 (20Km) Zersenay Tadese ERI 56:01 (No Brit entry)

2007 Zersenay Tadese ERI 58:59 (No Brit entry)

2008 Zersenay Tadese ERI 59:56 (No Brit entry)

PAST WINNERS - WOMEN
Liz McColgan
McColgan won the first running of the event in 1992

1992 Liz McColgan GBR 68:53

1993 Conceição Ferreira POR 70:07 (Best Brit: 12, Suzanne Rigg 72:07)

1994 Elana Meyer RSA 68:36 (29, Danielle Sanderson 73:13)

1995 Valentina Yegorova RUS 69:58 (34, Cath Mijovic 74:13)

1996 Ren Xiujuan CHN 70:39 (28, Sally Goldsmith 75:33)

1997 Tegla Loroupe KEN 68:14 (40, Angela Joiner 73:44)

1998 Tegla Loroupe KEN 68:29 (52, Liz Talbot 75:06)

1999 Tegla Loroupe KEN 68:48 (23, Marian Sutton 72:36)

2000 Paula Radcliffe GBR 69:07

2001 Paula Radcliffe GBR 66:47

2002 Berhane Adere ETH 69:06 (47, Amanda Wright-Allen 74:53)

2003 Paula Radcliffe GBR 67:35

2004 Sun Yingjie CHN 68:40 (No Brit entry)

2005 Constantina Tomescu-Dita ROU

69:17 (18, Mara Yamauchi 72:40)

2006 (20Km) Lornah Kiplagat NED 63:21 (27, Susan Partridge 69:17)

2007 Lornah Kiplagat NED 66:25 (40, Michelle Ross Cope 73:45)

2008 Lornah Kiplagat NED 68:37 (40, Wendy Nicholls 78:52)



see also
Radcliffe falls short in New York
01 Nov 09 |  Athletics
World athletics predictions
13 Aug 09 |  Athletics
When Boxer set the standard
04 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Richards set for 400m landmark
09 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Medals, money or both?
12 Jun 09 |  Athletics
GB women show Berlin credentials
03 Jun 09 |  Athletics
When is a record not a record?
19 Feb 09 |  Athletics


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