Olika Adugna of Ethiopia will be aiming to defend his title at the 41st edition of Marseille Cassis 20km
It’s been 12 years since Wilson Chebet retained his title in the race, the last runner to do so. Last year the 20-year-old Adugna defeated Amera Kuma following a fierce sprint. But Adugna, who clocked a half marathon PB of 1:01:43 one year ago, has a season’s best of just 1:04:23 from August, so doesn’t seem to his in his best shape.
One of Adugna’s rivals will be Vincent Gerald of Kenya, who also knows the challenging course along the French Mediterranean coastline. He rounded out the podium last year in 1:00:33, just four seconds behind Adugna.
Yasin Haji, who’ll be making his debut in this event, will be another strong contender. The Ethiopian, 23, is the fastest man on the field courtesy of a 1:01:19 half marathon career best, a time he ran just two weeks ago.
Josphat Kiproo Menjo should also be a threat, on paper, as he is the fastest man in the field over 10km, although his 27:04 came nine years ago.
The Kenyan, who turned 40 in August, set his half marathon best in March 2018 when running 1:01:36. In 2019 he clocked season’s best of 28:37 and 1:06:23.
Dennis Rutoh will have a role to play following his victory at the Montbéliard half marathon last September in a new lifetime best of 1:01:44. He also set his 10 km best in July with 28:21.
French hopes will rest on Mohammed Serghini and Julien Devanne. The latter won within a month both half marathon and marathon national titles.
On the women’s side, Brillian Jepkorir Kipkoech looks to be the favourite to succeed to Gete Alemayehu.
The Kenyan, 24, improved her half marathon best one month ago with a 1:07:12 run. She also bettered her 10km best to 31:04 in July. She seems to have a big margin over the rest of the field.
Compatriots Susan Kipsang Jeptoo and Lucy Macharia should be her main rivals. The former improved her 10km, half marathon and marathon bests in 2019 while the latter finished fourth at last year’s event.
French hopes will rest on the shoulders of Elodie Normand and Leonie Periault.
The start takes place near Marseille’s well-known Velodrome Stadium and then follows the Mediterranean coast before a tough 327-metre climb up to the Col de la Gineste halfway through the race. Runners then wind down a long descent towards the finish line in the port town of Cassis.
posted Friday October 25th