Qatar’s former world 10,000m finalist Nicholas Kemboi is the man to beat at the Siberian International Marathon in Omsk on Sunday (21) as the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race will celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Kemboi, who boasts a PB of 2:08:01, could threaten the course record of 2:13:02 set 21 years ago. The 30-year-old – who is the fourth-fastest man of all time over 10,000m behind Kenenisa Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie and Paul Tergat – switched to road running full time in 2011 and has completed just four marathons since then.
Two of them, however, were faster than 2:09. In addition to his PB set in Valencia three years ago, Kemboi also won in Prague last year in 2:08:51.
His opposition is headed by Kenya’s John Kyalo Kyui, whose PB of 2:10:00 dates back to 2011, set in Zurich. Earlier this year he finished fourth in Amdavad in 2:15:42, and although he is one year younger than Kemboi, he has far more experience on the roads.
But the real dark horse could be 21-year-old Kenyan newcomer Emmanuel Sikuku, who has improved his PB this year by almost six minutes to 2:11:20, giving him the fastest season’s best of the entire field.
The field also includes Nantes Marathon winner Larbi Es-Sraidi of France and last year’s third-place finisher David Ngakane from South Africa.
Glok faces Ethiopian challenge
Unlike the men’s field, which features athletes from all over the world, Russia’s Olga Glok is expected to keep the women’s title on home soil.
The 31-year-old finished fifth in Vienna in April this year in 2:33:23, but her PB stands at 2:27:18 from last year, also set in Vienna.
Glok’s top results also include a victory in Prague back in 2009 and a second-place in Athens in 2010. She represented Russia at the 2009 IAAF World Championships and 2007 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, and this weekend she will be looking to become the 24th Russian winner of the women’s race in Omsk.
The course record of 2:30:21 set by Russia’s Albina Ivanova back in 2002 could even be in danger.
Ethiopia’s Bizunesh Urgesa is Glok’s most likely challenger. The former world youth bronze medallist and world junior silver medallist on the track has now switched to the roads and has already achieved marathon victories in Istanbul and Mumbai, running a PB of 2:30:00 in the latter.
Other top names for Sunday’s race include last year’s fourth-place finisher Nina Podnebesnova, who defeated Glok at this year’s Russian Half-Marathon Championships, and the experienced Kenyan duo of Naomi Jepngetich and Purity Kimetto.
Natalia Maryanchik for the IAAF