Massive 2:07:37 PB for Teshome Gelana in Houston (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
Four men in the field have run we under the 1:00:22 course standard set by Kenyan Joseph Maregu in 2007, indicating that the one-hour barrier could be broken if conditions cooperate in the French capital.
On paper the fastest is Dieudonne Disi of Rwanda, a regular fixture on the French road race scene, who has a 59:32 performance to his credit from the 2007 World Road Running Championships in Udine, Italy, where he finished a solid sixth in a very deep race. In October the 31-year-old won the 20.3Km Marseille-Cassis Road Race
Other sub-one hour men in the field include Jairus Chanchima of Kenya who clocked 59:43 in Lille last year, and Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa who just dipped under the mark (59:59) in Abu Dhabi earlier this year.
Certain to be in the mix are a pair of sub-2:08 marathoners who will be making their debuts over the shorter distance, according to organisers. Teshome Gelana, who produced a noteworthy 2:07:37 victory in the Houston Marathon this year, returns to action. His run on 17 January was a career changer for the Ethiopian who improved by more than four minutes on his previous personal best. His compatriot Terfe Negari’s sub-2:08 was set last fall in Berlin’s city marathon, where he clocked 2:07:41 for a strong third. He took to the roads again on 2 January, finishing second in the Xiamen Marathon in 2:09:40.
The women’s field features a trio of sub-1:10 runners, led by Ethiopian Atsede Baysa. Baysa produced her personal best of 1:09:15 on the fast course in Udine, Italy, at the 2007 World Road Running Championships where she finished 11th. The 22-year-old has already achieved noteworthy success in the Marathon, collecting wins in Paris (2:24:42) last year and in Xiamen (2:28:53) this year. Obviously, she is no stranger to the avenues and boulevards of Paris.
On paper her compatriot Tsegaye Beyene is just a few steps behind with a 1:09:24 best to her credit, a run that brought her a notable sixth place showing at last year’s World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham.
Others to watch include Kenyan Gladys Cherono (1:09:26) whose personal best came in Valladolid, Spain, last year. Ethiopians Melkam Gisaw and Halima Beriso, still teenagers, will be making their debuts over the distance. Gisaw has a 2:31:55 Marathon best from Reims last year where she was second.
The women’s course record is 1:09:37 set by Alina Tecuta of Romania back in 1997.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF