By Mike Rowbottom

CopenhagenOctober 13 - Copenhagen is planning to turn the next International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Half Marathon championships, in 2014, into a running festival for both elite and recreational runners with 25,000 participants racing before the top competitors do battle.

The event will thus resemble the hugely successful initial race held in 1992 as part of Nova's Great North Run, where the first champions were Benson Masya of Kenya and Britain's Liz McColgan.

After taking on the baton from Kavarna, hosts of last weekend's World Half Marathon in Bulgaria – where Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea took the men's title in 1hr 00min 19sec and the women's race went to Meseret Hailu of Ethiopia in 1:08.55 – the Danish capital is preparing for a gigantic running festival on its fast, flat scenic route.

Helping the Danes to deliver will be their naturalised former competitor Wilson Kipketer, the 1,000 and 800 metres indoor world record holder and triple world champion at 800m.

"I have started running in Copenhagen and I really appreciate it," said the former Kenyan, who is an IAAF Ambassador.

"You see people running everywhere.

"Old people, young people – everybody runs in Copenhagen and Denmark."

Copenhagen runnersCopenhagen's lakes, situated in the west of the town, are one of the city's most popular running routes

Jakob Larson, chief executive of the Danish Athletics Federation (DAF), added: "Copenhagen is a scenic city that is clean, compact and safe and that regularly converts its city centre into spectacular arenas of sport events surrounded by historical and royal monuments.

"The Municipality of Copenhagen and Wonderful Copenhagen, further supported by Sport Event Denmark, have hosted a multitude of international sport events, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session and Olympic Congress and the UCI Road World Championships 2011."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]