Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris:
Everything you need to know about the elite field
No fewer than nine sub-2:07 runners on the start line!
The fight for the top places at the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris should once again turn out to be an African affair this year. In 2014, Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele marked his debut on the 42.195 km distance by setting a new event record of 2 h 05’04’’. There are several athletes with the oomph to succeed him on the roads of Paris. One of them, Vincent Kipruto, has a personal best of 2 h 05’13’’. The Kenyan, who won the 2009 edition, will face stiff competition from Ethiopians Deresse Chimsa (2012 Prague Marathon champion), Seboka Tola, Raji Assefa, ChalaDechasa and Limenih Getachew.
Kipruto will not be the only Kenyan vying for the podium. Expect to see 2014 Toronto Marathon winner Laban Korir, Gilbert Kirwa, Mike Kigen and Mark Korir near the front of the race. There will be nine African runners with personal best times under 2 h 07’ on the start line of the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris on the Champs-Élysées. France's Simon Munyutu and AbdellatifMeftah will also be on the prowl for a place near the top.
The Ethiopian charge
The winner of the ladies' race is also anyone's guess. The Ethiopian brigade may have yielded to Kenya's Flomena Cheyech (2 h 22’41’’) in 2014, but they are billed as favourites to take this year's race thanks to the presence of Mulu Seboka, who won the 2014 Dubai Marathon and has a personal record of 2 h 21’56’’. Fellow countrywomen Atsede Bayisa, Amane Gobena andBruktayit Eshetu could well emerge from her shadow to cause an upset. The four girls have already run sub-2h24’ marathons. Kenya, meanwhile, will be pinning its hopes on Emily Ngetich.
On the French side, 2008 winner Martha Komu will hope to keep up with the front group. KarinePasquier, Corinne Herbreteau and Sophie Duarte will also fly the French colours. For the record, Ethiopia's Boru Tadese set the best female time at the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris in 2013: 2 h 21’04’’.
Finally, in the disabled sports category, 50-year-old Frenchman Denis Lemeunier will be on the hunt for a second victory after the one he claimed in 2013, with fellow countryman Julien Casoliand the experienced 57-year-old Swiss Heinz Frei hot on his heels. Spain’s Jordi Madera Jiménez, American James Senbeta and Portugal’s Eduardo Bacalhau will also be worth keeping an eye on.
The starting signal for the 39th Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris will be given on Sunday, April 12, at 8:45 am on the Champs-Élysées.