Sisay Lemma and Galen Rupp will line up for the 24th Volkswagen Prague Marathon on Sunday (6) in the hopes of breaking the course record of 2:05:39 at the IAAF Gold Label road race.
Just 20 days after respiratory problems forced him to withdraw from a wet and windy Boston Marathon, USA’s Rupp will be on the streets of the Czech capital. The Olympic bronze medallist has reached the podium in all four marathons he has completed to date and he will be looking to continue that record on Sunday.
“I’m excited to be running in Prague and thankful for another opportunity to race,” said Rupp, who competed in the city’s half marathon in 2017. “I’ve done a lot of great training in the last few months and I’m looking forward to the race.”
Lemma, who ran 2:04:08 earlier this year in Dubai, will be wearing the No.1 bib. The Ethiopian will also be out for revenge after being beaten by Rupp at last year’s Chicago Marathon.
Bazu Worku will also be highly motivated when he takes to the start line on Sunday after finishing second in Prague last year. Earlier this year the Ethiopian won the Houston Marathon in 2:08:30, his fastest time in three years.
Barselius Kipyego may not have the fastest PB of the field, but he won last year’s Usti Nad Labem Half Marathon in a PB of 59:14 and recently finished 15th at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, so could be set to revise his marathon PB of 2:13:06.
Amane Gobena is the fastest in the women’s field. The Ethiopian set her PB of 2:21:51 when finishing second at the 2016 Tokyo Marathon, and earlier this year she won the Mumbai Marathon in 2:25:49.
Compatriot Meseret Mengistu has won five of her seven most recent marathons, including the 2017 Xiamen Marathon, the 2016 Beijing Marathon and the 2015 Paris Marathon. More recently, though, she finished third in Xiamen in January in 2:30:15.
Belaynesh Oljira has contested just three marathons to date and so probably has not yet reached her full potential. The 2013 world 10,000m and cross-country bronze medallist set her PB of 2:24:21 at last year’s Boston Marathon.
The Ethiopians may not have it all their own way, though, as the field also includes 2:23:00 performer Flomena Chepchirchir of Kenya and European half marathon champion Sara Moreira of Portugal.
Organisers for the IAAF
Sisay Lemma (ETH) 2:04:08
Bazu Worku (ETH) 2:05:25
Stephen Chemlany (KEN) 2:06:24
Mekuant Ayenew (ETH) 2:09:00
Suehiro Ishikawa (JPN) 2:09:10
Galen Rupp (USA) 2:09:20
Barselius Kipyego (KEN) 2:13:06
Jiri Homolac (CZE) 2:16:44
Giovanni Grano (ITA) 2:17:24
Amane Gobena (ETH) 2:21:51
Filomena Chepchirchir (KEN) 2:23:00
Meseret Mengistu (ETH) 2:23:26
Belaynesh Oljira (ETH) 2:24:21
Sara Moreira (POR) 2:24:49
Risper Chebet (KEN) 2:27:23
Ivana Sekyrova (CZE) 2:34:21
Teresa Montrone (ITA) 2:38:55