FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Albert Matebor and Lydia Cheromei Lead Strong Elite Fields for Prague
The Volkswagen Prague Marathon looks set to continue its rise in quality of
performances with the latest edition on 12th May. The elite fields have
produced a number of world-class results in recent years of the Czech
Republic's premier running event. Seven runners with personal bests of sub
2:10 are on the start list released by the organisers today. Among them is
the fastest runner ever entered for the Volkswagen Prague Marathon: Kenya's
Albert Matebor has a personal best of 2:05:25. The women's field looks
equally impressive with half a dozen competitors who have run faster than
2:25 in their careers. Top of the women's rankings is Lydia Cheromei of
Kenya who returns to the Czech capital where she set the current course
record of 2:22:34 in 2011. The Volkswagen Prague Marathon is an IAAF Gold
Label Road Race.
Albert Matebor's personal best of 2:05:25 is 14 seconds faster than
Prague's course record, set by Eliud Kiptanui (Kenya/2:05:39) in 2010. The
32 year-old achieved that time when finishing third in Frankfurt in 2011.
His next marathon was in Paris a year ago, but back problems slowed him to
15th place in 2:11:44. When Albert Matebor returned to Frankfurt in October
2012 the race was held in almost freezing conditions and times were
consequently much slower than expected with the Kenyan finishing sixth in
2:08:53. Since then Albert Matebor has only had one race when he finished
second in the Mardrid half marathon with 63:02 earlier this month. Albert
Matebor's regular training group at home in Kapngetuny includes Geoffrey
Mutai, the Boston Marathon course record holder and their sessions take
advantage of the area's 2,300 metres' altitude.
Another two runners will be on the start line with personal bests of under
2:07 on 12th May. Mariko Kipchumba achieved a major improvement in knocking
almost three minutes off his best last October in winning the Reims
Marathon in France with 2:06:05. His fellow Kenyan Benjamin Kiptoo
(2:06:31) has won a number of significant international marathons in the
past few years. Among them are Beijing (2008), Rome (2009) and Paris, where
he clocked his personal best in 2011.
While last year's third placed runner in Prague, Philemon Limo (2:09:25),
also returns, a debutant could spring a surprise: Amanuel Mesel (Eritrea)
ran a superb race at the recent Hervis Prague Half Marathon, finishing
second with a personal best of 60:10 minutes in very cold weather
conditions and challenging the world record holder and training partner
Zersenay Tadese all the way to the line with both Eritreans being given the
same time. It was a very promising performance by the 22 year-old who now
steps up to the marathon.
With such a strong elite fields, the organisers are hoping for fast times.
"I think we have a good chance of getting pretty fast times. 2:06 might be
possible, and if weather conditions are favourable we could even see an
attack on the course record," said Jana Moberly, the Elite Race Coordinator
of the Volkswagen Prague Marathon.
For Lydia Cheromei Prague is like a second home as she will be running the
Volkswagen Prague Marathon for the third time in succession.She has also
twice achieved success in the Hervis Prague Half Marathon, winning in 2011
and taking second a year ago. Winning the the Volkswagen Prague Marathon
two years ago with a course record of 2:22:34 has been one of the landmarks
of her long career so far, which began back in 1991. At the age of just 13
Lydia Cheromei won the junior title at the World Cross Country
A year ago it looked as if Lydia Cheromei would retain her Prague title.
The Kenyan had a substantial lead, but then developed a leg injury in the
closing stages and dropped out agonisingly close to the finish line, at the
40 k mark. However in the autumn she bounced back. Lydia Cheromei won the
Yokohama Marathon in 2:23:07 after finishing fourth in the World Half
Marathons Championships six weeks earlier. Coming back to Prague she will
be eager to make up for last year's disappointment.
However it will be more difficult than ever for Lydia Cheromei to win in
Prague on 12th May against the strongest women's field ever assembled for
this event. Six more runners have personal bests of sub 2:26: Koren Jelela
(Ethiopia/2:22:43), Caroline Rotich (Kenya/2:23:22), Ehitu Kiros
(Ethiopia/2:23:39), Philes Ongori (Kenya/2:24:20), Azusa Nojiri
(Japan/2:24:57) and Selomie Getnet (Ethiopia/2:25:15).
The course record will be a prime target on 12th May. After finishing
second in the Berlin Half Marathon earlier this month with a fine 68:01,
Philes Ongori said: "I am in full training for the Prague Marathon. I look
forward to that race where I want to run a time between 2:20 and 2:21."
More information about the Volkswagen Prague Marathon is available online