23 APR 2013 Preview Belves, France

Di Cecco and Berg the favourites for IAU 100km Championships

Italian distance runner Alberico Di Cecco (Getty Images)Italian distance runner Alberico Di Cecco (Getty Images) © Copyright

Italy’s Alberico Di Cecco and Sweden’s Kajsa Berg are among the expected front-runners at the 22nd 100km IAU European Championships, which takes place in Belves, France on 27 April.

France has been a long-time organiser of the Major IAU events. The most recent one was the 24 Hour World and European Championships in Brive (2010). Belves is located about 200km from Bordeaux and is known for its beautiful castles which will be well represented on the race course.

Italy’s 2012 World 100km bronze medallist Di Cecco – who finished ninth in the Marathon at the 2004 Olympics – will be returning to the 100km European Championships. In the absence of team-mate and multiple World champion Giorgio Calcaterra, Di Cecco, with a personal best of 6:28:48, certainly leads the field and will be one of the frontrunners at the start.

Ukraine’s Olek Holovnytskyy, with a best of 6:37:00, and Spain’s Asier Cuevas, having run 6:38:46, are also going to be in the mix. Not forgetting former top-five finisher Pieter Vermeesch of Belgium and Regis Raymond of France, who will also compete for a podium finish.

In the women’s event, 2012 World silver medallist Kajsa Berg is going to vie for a gold medal spot. She has a personal best of 7:35:23 and is the defending European Champion from Seregno 2012.

Irina Antropva of Russia has run 7:33:05 and Croatia’s Marija Vrajic, with a best of 7:37:40, will be running up with the leaders. Italy’s Marina Zanardi and former 24 Hour champion Anne Cecile Fontaine of France will also be competing to get on the podium as well.

Passing five different castles in the region, the 100km looped course takes athletes to the neighbouring town of Sarlat in the Dordogne Valley. 97 athletes from 19 countries are expected to take part.

Organisers for the IAAF