The organizers of the San Silvestre Vallecana announced a powerful women’s elite field for Saturday, December 31. The iconic New Year’s Eve 10km road race will have African Champion Tsehay Gemechu from Ethiopia, Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech, the world champion in the 3 000m steeplechase, and Francine Niyonsaba from Burundi, the 2016 and 2018 World 800m indoor champion.
Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei holds the women’s course record with 29:54 from 2019. She set the milestone just a few months before achieving her unbelievable and still-standing World marathon record of 2h14:04. Other athletics stars such as Paula Radcliffe and Tirunesh Dibaba are also among the past winners of the iconic Spanish race.
The 24-year-old Tsehay Gemechu comes to the race to extend the Ethiopian winning streak after Yalemzerf Yehualaw and Degitu Azimeraw won the previous two editions.
Gemechu is the defending African champion in 10,000 meters. She placed fourth place at the 2019 world championships in 5000 meters outdoors, a sixth place at the world cross country championships of the same year. Despite her success on the track, she is more focused on the half marathon and marathon. Gemechu has big ambitions as she will attempt to beat her 10km PB of 30:15 and Kosgei’s curse record of the event.
The 3,000m steeplechase world champion Beatrice Chepkoech temporarily leaves the track to compete at the world’s best 10K. The Kenyan athlete has many achievements on her list. Besides her 2019 World Championships gold, she is also the World record holder in the 3,000m steeplechase and a 9-time Diamond League winner.
Burundian Francine Niyonsaba, Olympic runner-up in Rio, world outdoor silver medalist in 2017, and two-time world indoor champion at 800 meters, has been enjoying road race and cross country success after World Athletics banned her from competing in her specialty event, the 800m. Most recently, Niyonsaba won the Cross Internacional de Venta de Banos, a World Athletics gold level XC race in Spain. She holds a very fast 5000m personal best at 14:25.34 from last year.
The women’s elite field will also have Prisca Chesang, the 19-year-old Olympian from Uganda who won the U20 world bronze medal at 5,000 meters this year, and Mahlet Mulugeta, the Ethiopian 10km champion, with a best 10K time of 31:47.