Athletes are arriving in Coimbra, Portugal, for the 2018 International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (INAS) Athletics Half Marathon World Championships which take place on Sunday (21 October).
The 2018 Coimbra Half Marathon will include INAS athletes and is the fourth stage of the Running Wonders circuit.
Italy’s Fabrizio Vallone returns to defend his title from Udine, Italy, in 2017.
Last year the Italian just edged his teammate Alessandro Tomaiuolo to the finish line by 23 seconds.
However Vallone will feel the pressure from a series of other runners on Sunday as Tomaiuolo will not start.
The 2015 and 2016 world champion Jose Azevedo lines up for hosts Portugal hoping to return to the top step of the podium. Compatriot Paulo Pinheiro will also have gold in his sights as he looks to reclaim his world title from 2011 and 2013.
Outside of Europe, the USA’s Tyler Wigington and Colton Lohrenz are keen to make an impact.
Meanwhile an Australian team will compete for the first time. Harry Mezger, Carlo Manolitsas and Montgomery Cooper take on the men’s field. Georgia Powning, Chloe Turner and Montana Whiteley make their debut in the women’s.
Mezger said: “I love running and I have loved every training session, even the long dark wet runs through winter. We just called them adventure runs which gave us a great attitude to just keep pushing through rain, hail, puddles whatever was thrown at us.”
Of the team who are all aged under 25, Australian head coach, Liz Gosper, commented: “Since we identified the opportunity to compete in this event and represent Australia all of the athletes have been focussed on just one thing. Their commitment to training, competition and preparation has been outstanding.”
In the women’s Powning, Turner and Whitely will have to overcome Poland’s Arleta Meloch.
Meloch was the victor in 2017, retaining her title.
Her teammate Anna Bodziony was not far behind and returns in an attempt to overcome Meloch.
About Coimbra 2018
The 2018 INAS Athletics Half Marathon World Championships will feature a 21.1km course that will weave its way through the beautiful city of Coimbra.
Over 20 athletes from more than five countries will compete.
Results will be available at the results, rankings and records page.