Just one second separates the 10km PBs of Isaac Kipsang and Lawi Kosgei – the top two entrants for the Corrida de Langueux – making them the joint favourites for the IAAF Bronze Label road race on Saturday (15).
Kipsang clocked 27:40 in Utrecht last October when finishing third. More recently he finished third at the Lisbon Half Marathon in March with a PB of 59:44.
Kosgei, the 2015 world U18 1500m bronze medallist, ran 27:41 in Würzburg in April to finish second and last week won in Oelde in 27:50.
If the race is fast, the course record of 27:46 set by Ethiopian Atsedu Tsegay in 2011 could be in jeopardy.
Yasin Haji, the 2015 world U20 cross-country champion, will also be in Langueux. The Ethiopian finished just behind Kosgei in Würzburg earlier this year, clocking a PB of 27:54. Incredibly, he ran the exact same time one week later to win in Paderborn and then recorded a third consecutive 27:54 clocking to finish third in Oelde last week, again finishing behind Kosgei.
Ayenu Alemu Yismaw faces a tough task if he wishes to improve on his second-place finish from last year. The Ethiopian finished just one second behind Moses Kibet last year.
Kenya’s Emmanuel Bor, who recently won in the French city of Valenciennes in a PB of 28:06, also cannot be discounted.
Ethiopians Derada Desalegn Hurisa and Elias Libret Mola should also have a role to play, as well as Dominic Mibei Kipngeno of Kenya, who holds a personal record of 28:25.
French hopes will rest on Florian Carvalho’s shoulders. The 2012 European 1500m silver medallist has moved up to the road races (2:12:53 at the last’s Paris marathon) and will attempt to follow the leaders. French marathon runner Hassan Chahdi is also in the field, but in Paris last weekend he trailed Carvalho by more than a minute over 10km.
Two past winners will clash in the women’s race.
Gladys Yator, who won in 2015 in a PB of 31:40, will be up against 2016 winner Meskerem Amare Seifu. Yator hasn’t bettered 32 minutes for 10km since her 2015 triumph but recently set a marathon PB of 2:31:27. Seifu, meanwhile, finished fourth in Langueux last year and is coming off a half marathon PB of 1:09:18.
Kenya’s Stella Barsosio and Susan Jeptoo will be formidable opponents. Barsosio finished second at this year’s Rotterdam Marathon in a PB of 2:23:36, while Jeptoo clocked a 10km PB of 31:59 when finishing second last year.
Quentin Guillon for the IAAF