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By David Monti
(c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved.

April 3, 2008 - Sunday's Paris International Marathon is packed with talent, reports elite athlete coordinator René Auguin, with Japanese record holder Toshinari Takaoka leading the men's field and Ethiopian Worknesh Tola leading the women's.

Takaoka, with a 2:06:16 personal best, will wear the #1 men's bib.  His key rivals will be Ethiopian Tesfaye Tola (2:06:57 PB) and Kenyans James Rotich (2:07:12), Philip Manyim (2:07:41), and Joseph Ngolepus (2:07:57).  The top Europeans entered ast Oleksandr Kuzin of Ukraine (2:07:33) and Alberico Di Cecco of Italy (2:08:02).

Worknesh Tola (2:25:42) is the top seeded woman, and she'll be joined by two of her compatriots, Shitaye Gemechu (2:26:15) and Mindhaye Gishu (2:28:30).  The veteran Linah Cheruiyot of Kenya, in excellent form as of late, should also challenge for the win (2:27:02 PB).  The top Europeans will be Beatriz Ros of Spain (2:29:25), Gulnara Vigovskaya (2:28:22) and Olga Glok (2:31:10) of Russia, and Marcella Mancini of Italy (2:33:17).  Making her debut at the distance will be Kenyan Alice Timbilil, who has a 68:56 half-marathon personal best.

The Paris course is fast.  Course records are 2:06:33 by Mike Rotich of Kenya in 2003 and 2:23:05 by Marleen Renders of Belgium in 2002.


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