Andrea Lalli wins the senior men's title at the European Cross Country Championships (© Mark Shearman)
One of Europe’s top distance runners, reigning European cross country champion Andrea Lalli, will finally make his long-awaited Marathon debut at the 28th Venice Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on 27 October.
Lalli, 26, grabbed the headlines on 9 December last year when he dominated the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Hungary, winning the gold medal with his aggressive gun-to-tape tactics to become the first runner to win the continental cross country crown in all three different age categories.
He had originally planned to make his debut at the Rome Marathon in March but a minor injury caused him to postpone his first outing over the classic distance.
Lalli’s potential over longer distances has been shown at the famous Stramilano Half Marathon, where he made his debut in 2011 with 1:02:02 and then improved to his current personal best of 1:01:11.
Also on the start line in Venice will be Italy’s Ruggero Pertile, Italy’s No.1 Marathon man in recent years.
Pertile, now 39, also started his Marathon career in Venice, back in 1999 when he finished 12th.
Both men are aiming to post qualifying times for next year’s European Athletics Championships in Zurich where they hope to be among the medal contenders. Pertile just missed out on a place on the podium three years ago when he finished fourth at the 2010 edition in Barcelona.
The men’s course record is 2:08:13, which was set by Kenya’s John Komen in 2009. The last local runner to win the race was Danilo Goffi in 1995, while the last European winner was France’s El Hassan Lahsinni in 2003.
Phil Minshull and organisers for the IAAF