Both of last year’s winners will be back to defend their titles at the Watford Half-Marathon on Sunday morning.

Ethiopian Yared Hagos won the event 12 months ago and he is making the long trip down from Newcastle again this weekend. Hagos finished first with a time of 1.07.00 last year.

But he will face stiff competition this time around from Scotland's Sean Fontana who is targeting the Commonwealth Games this summer and is eyeing a new course record in Watford.

Belgrave’s Tish Jones was the first home in the senior ladies competition in a time of 1.19.57 last season and she comes into the event in decent form.

Jones was third at the South of England Championships at Parliament Hill last weekend which was an ideal warm-up for this run.

Race organiser Richard Parles said: “Yared is coming down and will be keen to defend his title and we are pleased that both of last year's winners have come back to compete.”

A full field of 2,000 runners will be competing in Cassiobury Park as they battle the conditions. Some areas of the route are badly waterlogged but the roadsweepers will be out today [Friday] to improve the surfaces.

One of the runners is Catherine Parsi who is completing the event blindfolded with the aid of a sighted runner. She is raising money for Fight for Sight because one of her 14-month-old twins is registered blind. It is a practice run for the London Marathon later this year.

The half-marathon gets underway at 10.30am on Sunday.