Aniko Kalovics from Hungary and Kenya’s former Venice marathon winner Raymond Kipkoech are the standout names at the 23rd edition of the Venice Marathon Trofeo Casinò di Venezia, one of the most popular and fascinating italian marathon races, which takes place on Sunday 26 October.
Funds are being raised by the race for the charitable project - Run for Water- Run for Life.
Kalovics is a well-known name at Italian marathon. The Hungarian, who holds the national record which she set in Carpi 2006 when running 2:26:43, will attack the course record which was established by Lenah Cheruiyot in 2007 (2:27:02).
Kalovics also won the Turin Marathon in 2007 (2:29:24) and Carpi in 2007 (2:28:17) and finished third in this year’s Rome marathon (2:29:04). More recently she finished seventh in the Great North Run half marathon in 71:08.
Her chief challenge should come from Kenyan Anne Kosgei, who knows the course from Strà to Venice very well since she finished second in the Venice Marathon in 2002 and 2007 with a PB set in the last edition with 2:28:27. Another major contender is Russia’s Natalya Volgina who set her PB of 2:27:10 in the Paris Marathon in 2006.
The main Italian name will be Elisa Desco, who won recently the European Mountain Championships title and the World Mountain bronze medal last September. Desco set her marathon PB of 2:36:54 in Turin 2008.
The men’s marathon race will feature a battle between Kenya and Ethiopia.
Raymond Kipkoech, who took a very narrow win over Italian Danilo Goffi in the 2004 edition with a time of 2:09:54, returns to Venice. Kipkoech ran his best marathon race in 2002 when setting a PB of 2:06:47 to win the Berlin Marathon.
Despite running sub 2:10 in each of the years 2003, 04, and 05, his career has been hampered by a series of injuries which especially affected him in 2006 and 07. However, this year Kipkoech has again dipped under 2:10, clocking 2:09:39 when he finished sixth in Dubai on 18 January, though he was again below par with a 2:18 run in Madrid in April.
In Venice, Kipkoech will face compatriot Daniel Yego, whose PB of 2:08:16 was clocked when he finished third in Rome in 2005. This year Yego finished seventh in Rotterdam in 2:10:41. Ethiopia’s Teferi WodajoKure who finished fourth in Seoul in 2:08:11 in 2004, is another possible challenger for top honours.
Francesco Bennici, second in the Turin Marathon in 2:11:15, carries Italian hopes.
Project Run for Water- Run for Life
The special VIP guest of the 2008 Venice Marathon is Italy’s Olympic 50km Race Walk champion Alex Schwazer who has just started training for next year’s World Championships season.
The Venice Marathon is raising money in favour of the ONG Africa Mission Cooperation and Development for the Project Run for Water- Run for Life. Thanks to the sum of money raised during the 2007 edition of the Venice Marathon three wells were built to fulfill the needs of 1500 schoolchildren in two schools in the district of Moroto (Uganda) and of 1300 inhabitants in the shanty town of Nakapelimen .
The money was raised thanks to a campaign of SMS for the cost of 1 Euro supported by mobile phone companies and by many marathon runners who took part in last year's edition of the Venice Marathon.
The solidarity project has the goal to link a city like Venice which has to face the problem of high water with a very poor country like Uganda where people die of thirst.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF