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Mutai to challenge Mwangangi for Valencia marathon title

John Mwangangi after winning the 2015 Maraton Valencia Trinidad Alfonso. PHOTO/IAAF
John Mwangangi after winning the 2015 Maraton Valencia Trinidad Alfonso. PHOTO/IAAF

VALENCIA, Spain, Nov 11- Geoffrey Mutai, the 2012 Berlin marathon winner will be targeting a strong performance in his first marathon this year when he challenges defending champion John Mwangangi at the Valencia Trinidad Marathon Alfonso on November 20.

Slowed by injury the past three years, the 35-year-old is targeting a strong performance against Mwangangi who is more than determined to successfully defend his title having clocked a career best and Spanish all-comers record of 2:06:13 last year in the South Eastern Spanish City.

The men’s race will feature 16 runners with sub-2:10 bests. Other sub-2:07 men in the field include Gilbert Yegon of Kenya, at 2:06:18 from 2009, Peter Cheruiyot Kirui, who clocked 2:06:31 in 2011, and Matthew Kisorio with a lifetime best of 2:06:33 who finished second in this race last hear.

Others to watch include Solomon Kirwa Yego, who clocked 58:44 at the Roma Ostia Half Marathon this year and his compatriot Cosmas Kiplimo Lagat, this year’s Seville Marathon winner.

In the women’s contest, Naigambo will be chasing a third a straight victory, but will also face stiff competition.

Taking on the favourite’s role will be Kenyan Lucy Wangui, whose 2:19:34 lifetime best from 2012 ranks her as the tenth fastest marathoner of all-time. She ran nearly as fast last year, also in Dubai, clocking 2:20:21.

The pair will lead a field that consists of eight other runners who have clocked better than 2:30.

Ethiopians Betelhem Moges Cherenet, who has run 2:24:29, and Aberu Mekuria Zennebe, with a 2:25:30 best, are expected in the chase. Valary Jemeli Aiyabei of Kenya, who sports a 2:25:26 best, is also expected in the hunt.