Kenya’s Bernard Kiprop Koech and Ethiopia’s Shasho Insermu among the favorites in Rock and Roll Madrid
Nearly 10,000 runners will gather in the Spanish capital to take part in the 42nd Rock ‘n’ Roll Madrid Marathon on Saturday.
Kenya’s Bernard Kiprop Koech will be one of the athletes to beat in the men’s race. The 30-year-old holds a 2:04:53 PB set in Dubai back in 2013 while his last effort over the distance came in Valencia in 2017 when he clocked 2:08:32 for ninth. More recently he lowered his 10,000m PB to 27:31:83 last November in Hachioji.
Koech will be joined by fellow Kenyan Eliud Barngetuny, who won in Madrid last year in a lifetime best of 2:10:15, the second-fastest time ever in the Spanish capital and exactly one minute shy of the course record.
Jonah Chesum, the victor in Barcelona in 2017 with a PB of 2:08:57, should also be in contention. His most recent marathon effort of 2:10:08 came in Lisbon in October. Reuben Kerio, a 2:08:12 specialist, Kiprotich Kirui (2:08:48 in Paris last year) and Kipkemoi Kisang (2:09:21) complete the large Kenyan contingent.
With a best of 2:04:49, Ethiopia’s 2013 world silver medallist Tadesse Tola has the fastest PB of the field, but he hasn’t run faster than 2:16 since 2015.
The Ethiopian squad also includes Seboka Dibaba, a 2:06:17 performer in 2012 whose last effort was timed at 2:14:35 in September, Sisay Jisa (2:06:27), Belete Gezu (2:10:34) and Tilahun Amsalu (2:12:19).
Javier Guerra, the fourth-place finisher at the past two European Championships, is the top Spanish entrant. His 1:03:57 clocking at the Madrid Half Marathon three weeks ago was intended as a stepping stone for Saturday’s event where he is aiming to beat his lifetime best of 2:08:36 set last year in Seville.
No woman has ever bettered 2:30 in Madrid, but that barrier – and the course record of 2:30:40 – look vulnerable ahead of Saturday’s race.
Ethiopia’s Shasho Insermu, world ranked No.40, has finished in the top two in six of her past seven marathons. Her two most recent races have produced the two fastest times of her career as she ran a huge lifetime best of 2:23:28 in Amsterdam in October and followed it with 2:27:42 earlier this year in Xiamen.
Compatriot Tinbit Weldegebril, world ranked No.79 in the marathon, is another top contender. She smashed her PB on her last visit to Spain, clocking 2:23:37 in Valencia in December.
Other Ethiopians include Gebeyanesh Ayele, who clocked a 2:26:54 PB last year in Hengshui, Bechadu Bekele and Hemila Wortessa. With a best of 2:21:31, Magarsa Askale has the fastest PB of the field but that mark was set 11 years ago and she hasn’t raced since 2016.
Seville marathon winner Boulaid Kaoutar of Morocco may also be a factor if she can repeat her 2:25:35 form from last year.
Uganda’s Mercyline Chelangat will be making her marathon debut. The 21-year-old finished a creditable 12th at the 2017 World Cross Country Championships in Kampala and 11th in the 5000m at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Weather forecasters are predicting a sunny day with temperatures ranging between 11-13C by the time of the event and no likelihood of rain during the races.
posted Friday April 26th