Posted by: Joe English | March 15, 2008

Races: Rome Marathon expects top elite filed

From the European Athletics Association:
Over 13,000 athletes are expected to lace up their running shoes and pound the streets of the Italian capital this Sunday for the 14th Rome Marathon, amongst this impressive crowd are nineteen sub-2:13 runners and seven sub-2:30 women.

The Rome Marathon has a great pedigree and boasts 19 performances under 2:10 and 16 women under 2:30, however this could be one of the fastest years yet, with home-runners thinking about the Olympic qualification marks of 2:10:30 for men and 2:30 for the women, and the likes of Ottavio Andriani (PB 2:09.07 from 2001), on-form 28-year-old Vincenza Sicari, and former World bronze medallist Ornella Ferrara all likely to achieve them. In fact, Ferrara’s best ever time (2:27.49) was run on this very course in 2004.

Further a field, the fastest finisher is expected to be Kenyan Philip Singoei who won in Eindhoven last year (2:07:57) followed by his country-mate Jonathan Kosgei (2:10:18). Leading the European challange is Ukrainian Vitaliy Shafar and Lithuania´s Mindaugas Pukstas, while Russia’s Galina Bogomolova is the female star of the race with her 2:20:47 from Chicago 2006 where she finished second. Bogomolova is now hoping to demonstrate a return to form after she failed to finish in both London and Osaka last year.

Fellow Russian Larisa Zyusko (2:26:26) and Hungary’s Aniko Kalovics (2:26:44) are also ones to look out for. Italy works seems to work with the 30-year-old Hungarian, who has won all three of the Marathons she has contested in Italy (twice in Carpi and Torino) however the prolific runner will have to run the race of her life to maintain her unbeaten record in Rome.

The Rome Marathon course records are 2:08:02 by Italian Alberico Di Cecco (2005) and 2:25:07 by last year women’s winner, Souad Ait Salem from Algeria.

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