Tadese Aredo takes a 2:09:13 victory in Venice (Giancarlo Colombo/FIDAL) © Copyright

Tolesa eyeing title defence in Venice

26 October 2012 - A record 8000 runners will toe the start line from Stra for the 27th edition of the Venice Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on Sunday.

Ethiopian Aredo Tolesa Tadesse will be bidding for a back-to-back win in Venice after his 2:09:13 victory in 2011. Tolesa is a well-known name in Italy after his wins at the Florence Marathon in 2010 and at the Padua Marathon in 2011 in his lifetime best of 2:09:02. He will take on Kenyan Stephen Kipkoech Kibiwott who clocked a lifetime best of 2:07:54 in the Marathon in Prague in 2009 and 2:08:11 this year in the super fast Dubai Marathon last January. In the Half Marathon he clocked 59:37 in Lille in 2009 and more recently 1:02:41 in Porto last September.

Kenyan Patrick Ivuti will come back to the Marathon, a distance where he ran a lifetime best of 2:07:46 in Chicago in 2005. During a great career on the track and the cross country Ivuti collected a fourth place in the 10,000m at the Sydney Olympic Games and World Cross Country silver medals in 1999 and 2003.

The other top Kenyan names are Robert Ndiwa who ran 2:11:02 in Turin last November, Philemon Kisang Kipchumba (PB 2:11:11 in Verona 2011), James Mbuaga (PB 2:11:30), Patrick Korir (PB 2:11:36) and 59:51 half-marathon performer Titus Masai who will make his debut in the Marathon.

In the women’s race Ethiopian Jimma Fantu Eticha will make her return to Venice where she finished third in 2:30:25. She will take on her compatriots Halima Hassen Beriso who ran 2:30:26 in Hannover last May and Embet Etea Bedada, who finished fifth at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Kavarna contributing to the World team title for Ethiopia. The Kenyan challenge is led by Emily Chepkorir, a 2:32:31 performer last year in Nairobi.

Venice will host a week of meetings, conventions, events and special initiatives. Over 12,000 students are expected to take part in the Family Run. There are a series of charitable initiatives, such as the project “Run for Water, Run for Life” aimed at digging water wells in Uganda, and Bimbingamba, the project to support the association of former Formula 1 star and London 2012 handbike Paralympics champion Alex Zanardi to raise funds to get prosthetics for children all over the world.

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF