Julien Wanders will be aiming to claim a second successive title at the 47th edition of the Corrida Pedestre Internationale de Houilles, an IAAF Silver Label road race, on Sunday (31).
Last year Wanders led almost the entire race to win in 28:02, 30 seconds outside the European record he set in October in Durban where he finished runner-up. The 22-year-old Swiss, who also clocked also a half marathon PB of 1:00:09 in 2018, will target the course record of 27:47 set by Imane Merga in 2010.
One of Wanders’ main contenders in this northwestestern suburb of Paris could be 24-year-old Cornelius Kangogo, who is aiming to regain the form that propelled him to victories in Houilles in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Kangogo finished fourth at last year’s edition in 28:54 and has a 28:34 season’s best to his credit this year, 1:36 outside his personal record of 27:58 he set in 2013.
The field will also include Taye Girma, the winner of the Boulogne Billancourt half marathon one month ago in a career best of 1:00:55.
Eritrea’s Filmon Ande, who holds a career best of 28:20, as well as the young Ethiopian pair of Berehanu Tsegu and Haftu Teklu and Albert Chemutai of Uganda could also come up trumps.
French odds will rest on Florian Carvalho, who was eighth in the 10,000m at this year’s European Championships, and Jimmy Gressier, the two-time European U23 cross country champion.
Helen Tola looks to be the favourite in the woman’s race. In September she recorded a marathon PB of 2:22:48 in Berlin, the year following her victory at the Barcelona Marathon. She holds a personal record of 31:16 set last year and illustrated her current form in winning the 7.32km Course de l’Escalade in Geneva in early December.
Clemence Calvin, the silver medallist in the marathon at the 2018 European Championships, should be her main rival following her French record of 31:20 set in June in Langueux. Nevertheless, the Frenchwoman didn’t show her best form at the Marseille-Cassis 20km two months ago where she finished fifth, more than four minutes behind the winner Gete Alemayehu. The Ethiopian, who will also be running on Sunday, improved her 10km PB to 32:08 in Langueux in June, finishing 48 seconds behind Calvin.
Not to be discounted either is Kenyan Susan Jeptooo, who finished second at the Boulogne-Billancourt half marathon and second in Langueux in a best of 31:59.
Quentin Guillon for the IAAF