Christelle Daunay setting her 2:24:22 French national record at the 2010 Paris Marathon (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Langueux, France

Daunay hoping for repeat victory in Langueux

Christelle Daunay will be the main attraction of the 23rd Corrida internationale de Langueux – an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race – on Saturday 22 June in French Brittany, while the men’s race could be an Ethiopian battle between Yetwale Kende, Behailu Mamo Ketema and Tesfaye Abera.

French record-holder at 10,000m (31:35.81) and the Marathon (2:24:22), Daunay is looking to retain her title in Langueux. Last year she broke the course record with 31:48, but the 38-year-old is not sure whether she will duplicate this performance on Saturday.

In her preparation for the 10,000m Moscow at the World Championships in Moscow later this summer, two of her recent races have been held in difficult conditions. She won in a storm in Marseille on 1 May (32:51) and finished second in the searing heat of Pravets at the European Cup (32:46.39) earlier this month.

This weekend’s forecast predicts a sunny and partly cloudy sky in the west of France, so Daunay may learn more about her current form on Saturday.

The French athlete will not only compete against the clock, but also against some talented African runners. Selam Abere, who represented Ethiopia at last year’s World Half Marathon Championships, has recently improved her 10km PB to 32:21 and will line up alongside compatriot Fantu Jimma, a 2:28:03 marathon runner.

Also in the race are Kenyans Leonida Mosop, and Jane Kiptoo – the fastest in the field over 10km with PBs of 31:15.79 on the track and 31:29 on the roads.

"Initially, I entered this race with the aim to set a good time, similar to the one I did last year," said Daunay. "But looking at my season so far, I'm a little in doubt now, even if I did some good times at practice, it hasn't translated yet in competition. So I would like to find pleasure again on Sunday and if my legs are good, the time will drop too."

Compared to the African runners she will face on Sunday, Daunay has the advantage of knowing the course. "It might appear an easy one, but there are some slight slopes that should not be underestimated," she said. "But the massive crowds are really concentrated around the road and pushes us all."

Daunay hasn't yet looked at the start lists to check the names of her opponents. "I will see them on the day of the race," she said. "As usual I'll run my own race, because I need to focus on my own feeling in order to run as best I can."

Ethiopian streak to continue in men’s race

In the absence of the course record-holder Atsedu Tsegay, who ran 27:46 here in 2011, other Ethiopians are set to keep on with the tradition in Langueux, with a fourth consecutive victory looking very likely.

Coincidentally, the course record time is identical to the PBs of the leading entrants, Ethiopia Yetwale Kende and Kenya’s Milton Rotich.

Twice a competitor at the World Cross Country Championships, 22-year-old Kende appears to be in the shape of his life and he will be accompanied on Saturday by Tesfaye Abera. A 1:00:32 performer over the Half-marathon last year, Abera finished 14th at the World Cross in March and looks set to smash is 28:55 10km PB.

Along with their teammate Behailu Mamo Ketema, who clocked 1:00:53 in the Half-marathon earlier this year, Kende and Abera will lead the Ethiopian contingent in a dual against Kenya. Rotich will have on his side Alfred Cherop, a 27:59 performer last year, and Timothy Kiptoo, who ran 27:45 two years ago.

The Langueux 10km is a double-loop course around the centre of the village, finishing in front of the Hotel de Ville. Slight slopes makes this race a technical and difficult one.

Pierre-Jean Vazel for the IAAF