Kenya's Nobert Kipkoech Kigen may be the fastest man on the line up for the 5th Napoli City Half Marathon 2018 in Naples on February 4, but faces a litmus test to stamp his authority on other top runners on parade.
Nobert Kigen, who holds a personal best time of 59:42 in the 21km road race, must be at his peak form if he has to defeat European marathon record-holder Sondre Nordstad Moen.
While Kigen has been omitted from the Kenyan team to the World Half Marathon in Valencia, Spain on March 24, Moen, who is the Fukuoka marathon champion, has his eyes cast on winning his country gold in Spain next month.
"It is down to strategy. I have been preparing for this race and was disappointed not to make the Kenya team to the World Half marathon. But I will seek better show in Napoli and hopefully win it in a fast time," Kigen said on Wednesday from Eldoret.
Moen was at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro where he clocked 2:14:17 for 19th place finish. His other achievements include victory at the Nordic Cross Country Championships in 2010, and a gold medal in 10,000meters at the 2011 European Athletics U23 championships.
"Napoli half marathon is the competition I need now. I' m expecting good weather there and I've been told that contenders are potentially able to run below one hour. The course on the map seems to be good," said the Norwegian long-distance runner.
Moen last year spent January to March in Kenya with a group of top athletes that included two-time world marathon champion Abel Kirui and later in the year spent more time at altitude in Sestriere, Italy.
His time in Kenya helped him build up more endurance and he went on to win in Fukuoka, Japan in December.
The top names in the women's race include Kenya's Atonina Kwambai (69:49) and Bahrain' s Shitaye Eshete (70:10).