NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – Kenyans will be out to dominate this year’s Volkswagen Prague Marathon to run on Sunday in the capital of Czech Republic.
The hot favourites to win the 23rd edition include runners from Ethiopia and Kenya where over 10,000 runners have registered.
Kenya will be represented by Frankline Chepkwony, Stephen Kwelio and Raymond Kipchumba in the men’s race while the women’s event has Valary Jemeli and Sarah Jebet.
In keeping with RunCzech Running League standards, there will no short supply of world-class long-distance runners at the Volkswagen Prague Marathon.
“According to estimations, African runners are set to dominate with the strongest hailing from Ethiopia. I’m however looking forward to seeing performances by Czech runners and, above all, the thousands of recreational runners who devote huge amounts of free time and energy to marathon training,” President of the Organising Committee Carlo Capalbo revealed.
The main favourites to win this IAAF Gold Label race are all men with a track record for completing the race within 2 hours and 7 minutes. The trio of Kenyans comprising Lani Rutto, Chepkwony and Stephen Chemlany will be challenging three Ethiopians – Bazu Worku, Feyisa Bekele and Gebretsadik Abraha.
“With plans to launch an assault on his personal best in Prague and run in under 2:08, the renowned Japanese marathon runner Yuki Kawauchi also promises to add something to the mix,” Jana Moberly who manages the elite runners adds.
In terms of the women, representatives from Ethiopia are likely to dominate including four runners with personal bests under 2:24 led by Feyse Tadese and Amane Beriso.
“Their battle will open up the chance for a race record of 2:22:34, achieved by Lydia Cheromei here in 2011,” Capalbo said about speaking of the Ethiopian racers.
The Kenyans will also be keen to leave their mark, however especially Valary Aiyabey, winner of the Valencia marathon who enhanced her personal best at this year’s Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon (1:07:50) in preparation for the full course which is her main discipline.
The Volkswagen Prague Marathon is traditionally one of the last occasions for runners to meet the standards set by their athletics federations for the forthcoming world championships.
The event will be held in London this year and Prague can expect to welcome elite runners from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Brazil, New Zealand, Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay and Greece.
Major names on the start list
RUTTO Lani Kiplagat KEN 2:06:34
CHEPKWONY Frankline KEN 2:06:11
WORKU Bazu ETH 2:05:25
CHEMLANY Stephen Kwelio KEN 2:06:24
BEKELE Feyisa ETH 2:06:26
ABRAHA Gebretsadik ETH 2:07:06
CHOGE Raymond Kipchumba KEN 2:08:39
PAVLIŠTA Vít CZE 2:17:51
PECHEK Petr CZE 2:18:28
VABROUŠEK PETR CZE 2:31:36
TADESE Feyse ETH 2:20:27
BERISO Amane ETH 2:20:48
SEBOKA Mulu ETH 2:21:56
BEKELE Tadelech ETH 2:22:51
GIZAW Melkam ETH 2:24:28
AIYABEI Valary Jemeli KEN 2:24:48
TIBEBU Hirut ETH 2:25:12
JEBET Sarah KEN 2:27:07
CHURÁŇOVÁ Radka CZE 2:45:00
RYCHNOVSKÁ Dagmar CZE 2:56:53