FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Raymond Bett Returns To The Home of The Marathon
With The Course Record As Target
In the midst of celebrating his victory in the Athens Classic Marathon
2012, where he set an event record of 2:11:35, Raymond Bett didn't hesitate
to state his objective for a return visit: his sights would be set on the
course record. Next week the Kenyan will race on the course which has been
the inspiration to so many marathon dreams, following the legendary route
from the town of Marathon over the hills into Athens. The sense of
following in historic footsteps continues right through to the finish line,
set in the Panathenaikon Stadium, where the 1896 Olympic Marathon also
reached its climax. The course is tough and records achieved are few and
far between, but it offers plenty of excitement and history. For a true
marathon runner, this is one you absolutely have to run. A record number of
more than 11,000 athletes will assemble at the starting line on 10th
November for the 31st edition of the Athens Classic Marathon. Adding
runners who will compete at shorter distances, over 30,000 are expected to
take part in the event.
Raymond Bett seems to be made to measure for the demanding Athens course.
In 2010 he won with an event record of 2:12:40 the first marathon title of
his career. Two years later he returned for victory number two – both in
Athens and in his career – and another event record. He believes this
accumulated experience will stand him in good stead when he challenges the
course record. It currently stands at 2:10:55, set by the Italian Stefano
Baldini in winning the Olympic title in 2004.
The omens are good: in the spring Raymond Bett ran a personal best in
Duesseldorf, where he finished seventh with 2:10:50. Concentrating on his
marathon preparations, he hasn't raced since. The imminent challenge of his
third Athens Classic Marathon looks to be his toughest yet, given that the
field is stronger than ever before. His fellow-Kenyan Mariko Kipchumba is
the fastest runner in the field with a personal best almost five minutes
faster than Bett's. A year ago Kipchumba took the Reims Marathon in
Among a group of strong African runners there are Paul Kosgei and Bellor
Yator. Kosgei knows the course well, having finished runner-up in 2012. His
time of 2:12:20 was also inside the old event record, proving he can handle
such an undulating course. Bellor Yator is another to watch since the 29
year-old has run sub 2:10 on three occasions. A year ago he was fifth in
Kosice with a PB of 2:08:39. He has also won the Duesseldorf Marathon in
consecutive years, beginning in 2007.
The women's field is also much more competitive than in recent years. Gishu
Mindaye Tilahun has the fastest time going into the race. The 27 year-old
Ethiopian clocked 2:28:30 when she won the Rotterdam Marathon in 2006, the
outstanding performance of her career so far. Japan, where the marathon is
held in such high regard, supplies one of her rivals in the shape of
Iwamura Seika. Japanese women have a fine record in the marathon in Athens.
Her personal best of 2:33:15 was set when finishing tenth in Osaka in 2010.
Bayush Abebe Shferaw improved her marathon PB by more than six minutes when
she clocked 2:36:16 for seventh in the Milan Marathon earlier this year. A
European challenge may come from Svitlana Stanko, the Ukrainian marathon
champion, whose best of 2:31:28 was achieved in winning the Warsaw title in
Two days before the Athens Classic Marathon, the inaugural AIMS Best
Marathon Runner of the Year award will be presented to a male and female
athlete in Athens. Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda) and Wilson Kipsang (Kenya) as
well as Edna Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo (both Kenya) are the candidates
for the prize.
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