There has only ever been one Ethiopian double in the 25-year history of the Corrida de Langueux, but history could repeat itself at the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race over 10km on Saturday (18).
In light of his victory in Casablanca last month in a PB of 27:56, Ethiopia’s Dawit Fikadu appears to be the favourite in the men’s race. He finished third in Langueux in 2014, but heads to this year’s race with the third-fastest PB of the field and the quickest season’s best.
Compatriot Agato Yashin also stands a good chance of securing victory for Ethiopia. This will be the 30-year-old’s first race since setting a 10,000m PB of 27:46.21 last November.
Khalil Lemciyeh could be one of the biggest threats to the Ethiopian duo. One week after winning this year’s Nantes Marathon in 2:16:43, the Moroccan clocked a 20km PB of 1:02:32. More recently, he placed seventh behind Fikadu in Casablanca with a PB of 28:25.
Olivier Irabaruta will also be in contention. The Burundian has set numerous PBs on the track this year, including times of 13:17.98 for 5000m and 27:55.92 for 10,000m, winning on both occasions. His 10km personal best of 29:15 could be due for revision on Saturday.
Mark Korir’s last competitive appearance in France was a triumphant one as the Kenyan won the 2015 Paris Marathon in a PB of 2:05:49. He went on to compete in the marathon at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 and has clocked 1:03:41 for the half marathon this year.
Compatriot Alfred Cherop is familiar with the Corrida de Langueux, having finished fourth in 2013 and fifth in 2014. The 30-year-old has a best this year of 28:42, 43 seconds shy of the personal best he set in 2012.
Timothy Kiptoo’s PB of 27:45 makes him the fastest in the field, but that mark was set five years ago. His only race so far this year was a 13:50.5 clocking over 5000m at the Kenyan Prisons Championships.
Robert Kaptingei, who has a PB of 28:39 set last year in Rennes, and Eric Tirop Kimaru, who placed third at this year’s Casablanca Half Marathon in 1:02:35, should also feature in the lead pack.
The Corrida de Langueux, located in the Brittany region, will incorporate the French 10km Championships. Hassan Chahdi, the 2012 European cross-country silver medallist, will defend his title and will face another road-running specialist in the form of Yohan Durand.
The 31-year-old finished eighth at last year’s European Cross Country Championships and then clocked a 10km PB of 28:56 in Nice in January, beating Chahdi in the process.
Trio of tough Ethiopians
Ethiopian teenager Buzunesh Getachew was denied a potential 10km PB of 31:21 in Casablanca back in March when it emerged that the course was short. Nevertheless, her second-place finish there behind Kenya’s Pascalia Kipkoech – and her recent 5000m PB of 15:16.98 – underlines her current form. The 19-year-old will start as the slight favourite for the women’s race on Saturday and the course record of 31:40, set last year by Gladys Yator, could even be in jeopardy.
Compatriot Meskerem Amare could also be a threat and adds strength to Ethiopia’s chances of a double victory on Saturday. The 19-year-old finished fourth at the Corrida de Houilles last December in a PB of 32:16.
Atsede Habtamu is the most experienced of the Ethiopians in the women’s race. The 28-year-old set her 10km PB of 31:54 back in 2011 and has since moved up to the marathon. She clocked a marathon PB of 2:24:25 five years ago and won the 2012 Tokyo Marathon. She also finished 11th at this year’s Osaka Marathon.
Christelle Daunay leads the French challenge. The 41-year-old European marathon champion has fond memories of competing in Langueux as it is where she set her 31:48 personal best over the distance in 2011, just 10 seconds outside the French record.
Daunay, who finished sixth in Manchester last month in 32:23, is using this weekend’s race as part of her preparation for the Olympic Games in Rio, where she will contest the marathon.
In the race for the national title, Daunay will take on defending champion Jacqueline Gandar and Laurane Picoche, who finished 26th at this year’s IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.
Quentin Guillon for the IAAF