Kenya's multiple world record breaker Faith Kipyegon will seek the first official world road mile title in Riga tomorrow ©Getty Images

Faith Kipyegon, the world and Olympic 1500 metres champion who has set world records in three events this year, will seek to round off her season in Riga tomorrow with victory in the first road mile event to carry world title status.

The 29-year-old Kenyan is one of the main attractions at the inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships that will involve title races over the mile, 5 kilometres and half marathon distances in the Latvian capital, with 340 elite athletes taking part in what will also involve mass participation running.

"The message to the people of Riga is to get out on the side of the road and watch an athlete that in any generation is as good as they get," said World Athletics President Sebastian Coe on the eve of today's opening events involving children's racing.

Ethiopia has selected three of its best middle-distance runners, all of whom have bettered 3:56 for 1500m this year.

The East African nation will field world 1500m silver medallist Diribe Welteji, world indoor bronze medallist Hirut Meshesha and world indoor 800m silver medallist Freweyni Hailu.

Among other opponents for Kipyegon - who has set successive world records at 1500m, with 3min 49.11sec, the mile, with 4:07.64, and the 5,000m, with 14:05.20, the last of which has since been bettered - will be Australia’s world 1500m finalist Jess Hull.

"It has been an incredible season and if I can be just as consistent as I have been and tie a bow on what has been a great year, it’s going to be really fun," said Hull.

"Being part of the excitement of a brand new event has made it something to look forward to at the end of the calendar."

Kenya's Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir will seek a third women's half marathon world title at the inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga tomorrow ©Getty Images
Kenya's Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir will seek a third women's half marathon world title at the inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga tomorrow ©Getty Images

Kenya’s Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir will seek to become the fourth woman to win a third world half marathon title.

Tegla Loroupe of Kenya, Britain’s Paula Radcliffe and the Netherlands' Lornah Kiplagat have accomplished the feat that Jepchirchir, who won in 2016 and 2020, will be attempting.

Since earning gold in Tokyo, Jepchirchir has won the 2021 New York City and 2022 Boston Marathons.

After dealing with injuries through parts of last year she returned to action in April as she finished third in the London Marathon in 2hr 18min 38sec.

She went on to win the Great North Run half marathon on September 10, clocking 1:06:45, not too far off the women-only half marathon world record of 1:05:16 she set in winning the 2020 world title in Gdynia.

"I know it won’t be easy and the level of competition is very high, but I’m going to try to do my best," said Jepchirchir.

"Defending a title is never easy, but it’s not hard if you’ve trained well.

"Last year I was injured but now I’m completely healed and injury-free.

"I won the Great North Run a few weeks ago and I’m looking ahead to the New York Marathon."

Fellow Kenyans figure in the list of likely challengers including Irine Jepchumba Kimais, the Kenyan 10,000m champion who finished fourth at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

The 24-year-old is the quickest in the field with a personal best of 1:04:37, set in winning at the Barcelona Half Marathon in February.

Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi, who has a best of 1:05:26 and won world 10,000m bronze last year, will be another Kenyan to watch along with 21-year-old Catherine Relin, who ran a best of 1:05:39 in February.

Ethiopia will seek to win a third consecutive women’s team title.

Their team is led by Tsigie Gebreselama, who won silver at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst earlier this year and clocked her half marathon personal best of 1:05:46 to finish second in Valencia last October.

In the men’s half marathon, Kenya will be chasing a 14th individual win, and a 17th team win, in what is the 25th running of the event.

Kenya field a trio of sub-59-minute men in Benard Kibet, Charles Kipkurui Langat and Sabastian Kimaru Sawe, while their next man, Daniel Simiu Ebenyo, is a 59min 04sec performer.

Ethiopia, as ever, will present a strong challenge, headed by Jemal Yimer Mekonnen, who has a personal best of 58:33.

The European challenge is led by world 5,000m finalist Jimmy Gressier, the French 26-year-old who clocked a personal best of 59:55 to finish third in the Paris Half Marathon in March.

The flat half marathon course - with only 11 metres of difference between its highest and lowest points - will start at the Embankment and then cross the River Daugava to Pardaugava, before returning to Old Riga over Vansu Bridge, looping around the historic centre of the city before the finish.

Three of the four fastest men in history will contest the 5km.

Berihu Aregawi, who set the current world record of 12min 49sec in Barcelona two years ago, will face fellow Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha, who ran just a second slower in Lille earlier this year.

Berihu Aregawi, Ethiopia's world record holder for the men's 5km, will face a strong challenge from team-mate Yomif Kejelcha ©Getty Images
Berihu Aregawi, Ethiopia's world record holder for the men's 5km, will face a strong challenge from team-mate Yomif Kejelcha ©Getty Images

Also in the mix will be Kenya’s Nicholas Kipkorir, the fourth fastest 5km runner of all time with a best of 12:55 set last year.

Also watch out for Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet, who ran a track personal best of 12min 42.18sec to win at this season’s Monaco Diamond League meeting.

The women’s 5km features a stellar field of Olympic and world medallists including Kenya’s world cross country champion Beatrice Chebet, who has a personal best of 14:32.

But expect a huge challenge from Ethiopia’s Ejgayehu Taye, the world 10,000m bronze medallist, who set the mixed racing world record of 14:19 in Barcelona two years ago.

Chebet will be joined by team-mate Lilian Kasait Rengeruk, the 2017 world cross country bronze medallist who won the 5000m at the Brussels Diamond League earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Uganda filed the Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Peruth Chemutai.

In the men’s mile, 19-year-old Kenyan Reynold Cheruiyot will seek his first senior global title in the men’s mile having won the world under-20 1500m title last year.

But in an evenly matched field there will be a strong challenge too from Ethiopian duo Teddese Lemi and Melkeneh Azize.