Birhane Mihretu Gebrekidan wins the Corrida de Langueux (© Organisers)
Ethiopia’s Birhane Mihretu Gebrekidan will be looking to claim a second victory at the Corrida de Langueux, an IAAF Bronze Label road race, on Saturday evening (16).
Mirhetu won in the western French city last year in 32:31. She has raced sparingly this year, but showed promising form at the Warsaw Half Marathon where she finished second in 1:10:26.
Compatriot Meskerem Amare, the winner in Langueux in 2016, will also be on the start line on Saturday, but recent half marathon performances of 1:13:25 and 1:14:34 suggest she might not be at her best.
Kenya’s Gloria Kite will be a strong contender. The teenager ran 31:41.47 for 10,000m earlier this month, followed three days later by a 3000m PB of 8:39.07.
Other athletes who could challenge for a podium place include Paris-Versailles winner Chaltu Dida, 32:20 performer Gete Alemayehu, last year’s third-place finisher Susan Jeptoo of Kenya and her compatriot Mercyline Jerono, who has a PB of 32:46.
France’s Sophie Duarte and Clémence Calvin could also be in contention. Duarte, the 2013 European cross-country champion, holds a PB of 31:53, while Calvin finished 28th at the recent IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018.
The course record of 31:39 was set in 2015 by Kenya’s Gladys Yator.
Following a half marathon PB of 1:00:02 in April, fellow Ethiopian Asefa Tefera will start as favourite for the men’s contest in what will be his first 10km race.
Uganda’s Moses Kibet looks set to be Tefera’s toughest opponent. Earlier this month the 27-year-old clocked a 10,000m PB of 27:56:12, which suggests his 10km road PB of 29:20 is due for revision.
Ethiopia’s Yismaw Ayenu finished fourth last year in 28:48, so will be hoping to make it on to the podium this time in his first road race of 2018.
After a 28:29 run in Valencia earlier this month, Uganda’s Geoffrey Kusuro will be aiming to close in on his PB of 28:13 from 2014.
Other contenders include 1:01:03 half marathon performer Ishmael Kalale of Kenya, African Cross Country Championships fourth-place finisher Enyew Mekonnen of Ethiopia, last year’s sixth-place finisher Derara Hurisa and Tom Mwendwa of Kenya.
Burundi’s Onesphore Nzikwinkunda, who finished 19th in the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, could also come up trumps.
Evans Kipkorir Taiget is yet to race in 2018, but an athlete of his experience cannot be discounted. By contrast, fellow Kenyan Silas Mwetich is a relative newcomer, but he has a best of 28:59 and will be aiming to challenge the 28-minute barrier.
French hopes will rest on James Theuri, who was the top French finisher at last year’s edition.
The course record is held by Ethiopia’s Atsedu Tsegay, who ran 27:46 seven years ago.
Quentin Guillon for the IAAF