The 24th Volkswagen Prague Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, will feature a strong elite field headed by Sisay Lemma and Galen Rupp. The Ethiopian runner along with the U.S. long distance star are expected to launch an assault on the race record of 2:05:39 held since 2010 by Eliud Kiptanui. The women will also be out to smash records with Ethiopian runner Amane Gobana clear favourite on that front. Aside from records, runners will also be looking to qualify for the European Championships taking place this August.
Galen Rupp - America’s number one marathoner is set to hit the streets of Prague just 20 days after cold, windy, and rainy weather and his resulting respiratory problems forced him out of the 2018 BAA Boston Marathon. His prior record in marathons found him on the podium four times in four starts (including two victories and a Bronze medal in the Olympics) and he will be looking to return to that form with a redeeming run in the 2018 Volkswagen Prague Marathon on May 6th.
This will be Rupp’s second visit to the city after the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon in 2017 which he used as a tune-up for his second place finish in the 2017 Boston Marathon. “I’m excited to be running in Prague and thankful for another opportunity to race. I’ve done a lot of great training in the last few months and I’m looking forward to the race on May 6,” said Rupp.
The American will face strong competition trying to beat him to the tape. Ethiopia’s Sisay Lemma who ran 2:04:08 earlier this year in Dubai will be wearing the No. 1 bib. Rupp did defeat Lemma in the Chicago Marathon in 2017 with a fast final 10 kilometers.
Amongst the invited African, European, and Japanese runners there will be many others looking to claim the win including the 24 year old Barselius Kipyego a 59:14 half marathoner. Kipyego’s win in the Mattoni Usti nad Labem Half Marathon last September bodes well for a faster finish than his current marathon personal best of 2:13:06.
The women’s start list is led by two Ethiopians, Amane Gobena with the fastest personal best time of 2:21:51 from 2016, and her compatriot Belaynesh Oljira who won the Houston Marathon earlier this year in 2:24:21. Others who should also be in the mix for the podium include Sara Moreira of Portugal and Flomena Chepchirchir and Risper Chebet of Kenya.
The top Czech runners on the start list are Jiri Homolac, and Petr Pechek for the men and two veteran women, Ivana Sekyrova and Petra Pastorova..
Elite athletes selection
LEMMA Sisay | ETH | 2:04:08
CHEMLANY Stephen | KEN | 2:06:24
WORKU Bazu | ETH | 2:05:25
AYENEW Mekuant | KEN | 2:09:00
RUPP Galen | USA | 2:09:20
ISHIKAWA Suehiro | JAP | 2:09:10
KIPYEGO Barselius | KEN | 2:13:06
HOMOLÁČ Jiří | CZE | 2:16:44
GRANO Giovanni | ITA | 2:17:24
GOBENA Amane | ETH | 2:21:51
OLJIRA Belaynesh | ETH | 2:24:21
MOREIRA Sara | POR | 2:24:49
CHEPCHIRCHIR Flomena | KEN | 2:23:00
MENGISTU Meseret | ETH | 2:23:26
CHEBET Risper | KEN | 2:27:23
SEKYROVÁ Ivana | CZE | 2:34:21
MONTRONE Teresa | ITA | 2:38:55