KIRUI, INCERTI ARE TOP-SEEDED ATHLETES AT ROME MARATHON
By David Monti
(c) 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
March 20, 2009
ROMA (20-Mar) -- Paul Kirui of Kenya and Anna Incerti of Italy are the
top-seeded athletes at Sunday's 15th Maratona di Roma here.
Kirui, a 29 year-old Kalenjin, was the 2004 IAAF World Half-Marathon
Championships gold medalist and has a career best marathon time of
2:06:44. He's the only man in the field with a sub-2:07 performance to
his credit. In 2008, Kirui finished fifth at Rotterdam (2:09:46), and
first at Amsterdam (2:07:52).
"He is the strongest athlete," commented Max Monteforte, the event's top athletes coordinator who assigned Kirui the #1 bib.
But Monteforte also thinks that another Kalenjin, Francis Kiprop, could
win the race. Kiprop, who has a personal best time of 2:08:30, is
coached by the legendary Patrick Sang, an Olympic and world
championships steeplechase silver medalist. Moreover, Monteforte
trusts Kiprop's agent, Michel Boeting, who said that Kiprop is fit and
ready to race. Monteforte also thinks that Philip Manyin (2:07:41
personal best) and Hosea Rotich (2:07:24) will be still be battling for
victory here last in the race.
Incerti will wear the #1 bib on the women's side. The 29 year-old
athlete, who lives and trains in Palermo, is in excellent form after
winning the Roma-Ostia Half-Marathon on March 1, in a personal best
1:09:24. That performance was perticularly noteworthy because in that
race the elite women were given a head start over the men, and Incerti
ran the entire race alone from gun to tape in rainy weather. She beat
second place Christelle Daunay of France by more than a minute.
Incerti was the Milan Marathon champion last year, clocking a personal
best 2:27:42, and also finished 14th in the Beijing Olympic Games last
Monteforte said that Kenyan Linah Cheruiyot should give Incerti her
biggest challenge. Cheruiyot, 36, a former protogé of Tegla Loroupe,
has already won two marathons in Italy; she was the champion in Venice
in both 2006 and 2007. She has a personal best time of 2:26:00.
Some 15,000 runners are expected on the starting line in the shadow of
the famous Roman Coliseum on the Via del Fori Imperiali on Sunday
morning. Runners are hoping that gusting winds die down and that the
temperature comes up a bit; it's been unseasonably cold here the last