04 APR 2014 Preview Milan, Italy

Former winners Too and Jepkoech return to Milano City Marathon

Daniel Too Kiprugut wins the 2012 Milan Marathon (Giancarlo Colombo)Daniel Too Kiprugut wins the 2012 Milan Marathon (Giancarlo Colombo) © Copyright

The course record could be under threat at the 2014 SuisseGas Milano City Marathon as the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race celebrates its 14th edition on Sunday (6).

Daniel Kirugut Too – not to be confused with Daniel Kirwa Too – won this race in 2012 in 2:08:39, 14 seconds off his personal best. The Kenyan will return this year with the goal to break Duncan Kibet’s course record of 2:07:53 set in 2008.

This year’s field features two sub-2:07 runners, Ethiopia’s Raji Assefa and Kenya’s Stephen Tum.

Assefa’s PB of 2:06:24, set at the 2012 Paris Marathon, makes him the fastest in the field. He has twice represented Ethiopia at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, his best result being a 12th-place finish in 2007 in 1:00:31.

Tum won in Marrakech two years ago with 2:08:51 on his marathon debut and successfully defended his title last year, setting a personal best of 2:06:35.

Another one to watch out for is Kenya’s Francis Kiprop whose personal best of 2:07:04 dates back to the 2009 Berlin Marathon, but won in Madrid last year in 2:10:37.

The best non-African runners are Brazil’s 2007 Pan-American Games champion Franck Caldeira, who set his personal best of 2:12:03 when finishing sixth in Milan two years ago, and Ukraine’s two-time national marathon champion Igor Olefirenko.

The Milan race will double up as the Italian Marathon Championships. Veteran Danilo Goffi, European silver medallist back in 1998 and the top masters finisher at last year’s New York Marathon, will be up against former European junior cross-country bronze medallist Stefano Scaini, husband of 2008 Milan Marathon winner and 2010 European champion Anna Incerti.

Defending champion Jepkoech faces strong Ethiopian challenge

Monica Jepkoech will defend the Milan title she won last year with a personal best of 2:32:54. The Kenyan also boasts a solid 1:09:12 half-marathon PB set in Lille two years ago.

But she will have her work cut out as the women’s field also features Ethiopia’s 2:30:56 runner Debola Wudnesh, winner of the 2010 Barcelona Marathon, and her compatriot Megeresa Megertu, whose PB of 2:31:49 is also superior to Jepkoech’s.

Morocco’s Soumiya Labani’s PB of 2:30:48 makes her the fastest in the field, but the 39-year-old’s best performance dates back to 2006. Another interesting entrant is Slovenia’s Mateja Kosovelj, bronze medallist at last year’s European Mountain Running Championships.

Kenya’s Visiline Jepkesho, who holds a half-marathon personal best of 1:11:50, will make her marathon debut in Milan.

The women’s course record is held by former New York and Boston Marathon champion Margaret Okayo, who clocked 2:24:59 in 2002 over a different course.

The race will set off from Rho, near the Fiera Miano on the outskirts of Milan, and finish in front of the Central Piazza Castello, one of the symbols of the Northern Italian city. The course will pass along all the most famous symbols of Milan including the San Siro footbol Stadium, the Navigli, the Duomo Cathedral, the Scala Theatre, the Peace Arch, the Sempione Park and the Arena Civica to finish near the Castello Sforzesco.

No less than 4500 runners are expected to take to the streets to take part in the 26.2 mile race but the total figure will increase to about 14,027 participants including the popular Europ Assistance Relay Marathon.

The relay, which will involve 2378 teams, is a non-competitive race for teams of four members running for charity organisations to raise funds. It was introduced to the programme in 2010 and has been the key for the growing success of the Milan Marathon.

Last year the Milan Marathon earned the AIMS Green Award from the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races, a prestigious award that certifies the strong commitment of the Milan Marathon in implementing all the measures to protect the environment during the race.

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF