General News 25 February 2010 – New Orleans, USA

Lel and Wanjiru to Battle In New Orleans Half Marathon

Sammy Wanjiru crosses the line to win the 2009 Flora London Marathon (Getty Images)Sammy Wanjiru crosses the line to win the 2009 Flora London Marathon (Getty Images) © Copyright
New Orleans, USA2008 Olympic Marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru will battle head-to-head against three-time London Marathon champion Martin Lel at Sunday’s (28) Roll Mardi Gras Half Marathon.

The first Kenyan to win Olympic Marathon gold, Wanjiru set the current World record in the Half Marathon of 58:33 at the 2007 City-Pier-City Loop in The Hague, The Netherlands.

“The timing of the Mardi Gras Half-Marathon is perfect for athletes like me who are preparing for a spring marathon,” said Wanjiru, who will face Lel at the London Marathon on 25 April. “For me it's a great opportunity to see where I am before the London. Really, I am just looking to come and run a solid race and this gives me a great chance to see where I'm at and what condition I am in.”

Lel won the 2005, 2007 and 2008 editions of the London along with the 2003 and 2007 New York City Marathons. His 2008 London victory in 2:05:15 was a course record until Wanjiru broke it last year with his sizzling 2:05:10 run.

Leading the women’s field is Ethiopian Berhane Adere, a two-time winner of the Chicago Marathon. She’ll face New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith, who finished seventh at the World championships over the distance last year.

Dan Cruz (organisers) for the IAAF