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Ottawa records in jeopardy

Teyba Erkesso for Ottawa

Teyba Erkesso for Ottawa

MAY 15 – OTTAWA – Confirmation of top-ranked runners in the 2012 Tamarack Homes Ottawa Race Weekend is shaping the May 27 marathon into one of the most highly anticipated spectator sports of the season.

Event records are expected to fall with a strong contingent of Kenyans and Ethiopians dominating the start line again this year in both the men’s and women’s races.

“This is a race people won’t want to miss,” says Manny Rodrigues, Elite Athlete Coordinator for Run Ottawa. “New and returning athletes combined with a faster race course will make this year’s marathon a memorable one.

Teyba Erkesso, a 29 year-old Ethiopian, is the favourite to break the women’s three-year-old event record of 2:27:41. She has a solid record that includes winning the 2010 Boston Marathon and a personal best almost four minutes faster than the record.

“Teyba is familiar with Ottawa after winning our 10k in 2009 and I’m glad to see her move up to try and stamp her name on our marathon,” says Rodrigues. “Teyba is an incredible athlete who I’m hoping will bring the event record under 2:25.”

Erkesso will get some hard competition from fellow Ethiopian Yeshi Esayias, 26. Since placing third in the 2007 Ottawa marathon in 2:36, she has consistently improved to achieve a personal best of 2:26:00 in Tokyo in February.

Rounding out the list of top women includes three women who have personal bests under the event record; Ethiopian Biruktawit Degefa, who was second in Ottawa last year, Kenyan Ruth Wanjiru and Russian Alventina Ivanova.

Ottawa is a lucky town for 28-year-old Laban Moiben of Kenya, who won the men’s Ottawa Marathon last year (2:10:17), placed second in 2010 (2:09:43) and fourth in 2009 (2:14:17).

“Laban is an exciting runner to watch because he’s never content to let the pace dawdle. With his win in Mumbai in January he showed he is in top form by beating some 2:08 marathoners,” says Rodrigues, “So, I don’t think it will be a stretch to see a new men’s record considering the competition we’ve lined up against him.”

In this year’s men’s marathon category, six elite runners boast a personal best time that is faster than the current event record of 2:09:33 set by Japanese racer Arata Fujiwara in 2010.

Kenyan Moses Kigen was considered a dark horse when he took third in the 2010 New York City Marathon. Add in a new personal best of 2:07:45 run in Dubai in February and he’ll be one of the favourites in Ottawa. Kenyan Julius Karinga was only 16 seconds behind Moses in Dubai and will be looking to make his own mark. Also in contention from Kenya are 24-year-old Evans Kiplagat, who has a personal best time of 2:09:22 and Stephen Kibiwott, 26, with a best time of 2:08:02. The Ethiopians’ hope will be spearheaded by 2:07 marathoner Negari Terfa.

“With so many Kenyans having personal bests under the current event record of 2:09:33, together with four-time champion David Cheruiyot – a pair of Moroccans and Ethiopians that are knocking on the door – it’s a recipe for a fast race,” says Rodrigues.

The Ottawa marathon also serves as the Canadian National Marathon championships. The leading contenders for the men’s national title are Réjean Chiasson and Giita MacHaria, with personal best times of 2:17 and 2:16 respectively. The leading women are Myriam Grenon, Lisa Avery and Josianne Aboungono.


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