Former champion will return to Inverness Half Marathon in bid for Olympics
FORMER champion Weynay Ghebresilasie will return to the Inverness Half Marathon looking to break the race record as part of his ambition to be selected for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.
The 26-year-old, who won the Inverness Marathon three years ago, competed for Eritrea at the 2012 Olympics in the 3000 metres steeplechase.
But after seeking political asylum he is looking to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Ghebresilasie trains with Shettleston Harriers in Glasgow and his coach John Mackay says he is looking to make a big impression in Inverness when the race takes place on Sunday, March 8.
He said: “Weynay is currently training at altitude in Ethiopia but will return for the Big Half Marathon in London, then the Inverness half marathon.
“He hopes to run a very fast time before April’s London marathon. He has done 64:06 at Manchester last year but we are looking for sub 63 minutes or faster.”
Ghebresilasie won the 2017 Half Marathon in 66 minutes 48 seconds but is aiming to beat the record set by Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist Robbie Simpson of 64:27 in 2018.
Last year’s women’s champion Liz Abbott from Lytham St Anne Road Runners, who recorded a personal best of 76:48, has been confirmed to defend her title.
The women’s record is 73:21 held by 2013 winner Cathy Mutwa from Kenya.
Organisers are offering a £100 bonus to any athlete who manages to break the men or women’s record on top of the £300 prize money for the winner.
Race Director Malcolm Sutherland is pleased the race has attracted former champions back to compete next month.
“The race has attracted many top calibre athletes throughout its 35-year history and the 2020 event is maintaining that tradition,” he said.
“We are delighted that Weynay and Liz are among the top names returning to our event.
“We thought, however, that we could add a bit more spice to the occasion by offering bonus prizes for record-breaking performances.
“The existing men’s and women’s records are outstanding and it would be amazing if they could be rewritten.”