Mandago and Ruban the favourites in Turin - PREVIEW

Mandago and Ruban the favourites in Turin - PREVIEW

Provided by IAAF

Turin, Italy - The Turin Marathon Gran Premio La Stampa, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, will celebrate its 25th edition on Sunday (13). The jubilee edition is an important fixture in the calendar of events of 2011, a special year for the Piedmont city as Turin, the first Italian capital in 1861, celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the Unity of Italy.

The fastest man in the men’s field will be Kenyan David Mandago who emerged in 2006 when he won the Rome Marathon in 2:08:38. Then he went on to win the Hamburg Marathon in 2:07:23 in 2008 and improved his PB to 2:06:23 one year later in Paris. After a second place in Seoul in 2009 in 2:09:01 (his last sub-2:10 time), he suffered from injury problems which stopped his progress.

Thirty-three year-old Mandago will take on some younger runners such as Peter Kurui (born in 1990) and Paul Samoei (born in 1984) who know the Turin course very well and will return to the Piedmont city.

Kurui made his debut in Turin in 2010 when he finished fourth in 2:13:06, a time he improved last May at the Hannover Marathon where he clocked 2:09:35. He also finished fourth at the Stramilano Half Marathon in 1:00:40.

Samoei produced a major surprise two years ago in Turin when he started in Turin as an underdog and crossed the finish-line in third place behind Benson Barus and Italian Ruggero Pertile on a cold and rainy day. Samoei went on to finish second in Venice in 2009 in 2:10:09 and third in Los Angeles in 2:09:54, his first ever sub-2:10 time.

William Chebor will be looking to improving his 2:10:15 PB set in San Diego in 2010. This year Chebor finished second at the Udine Half Marathon with 1:01:10.

The Turin Marathon is also valid as the Italian Marathon Championships. The fight for the Italian title will be a generational battle between veteran runner Migidio Bourifa, the reigning Italian champion and 27-year-old runner Francesco Bona, who recently won the National half marathon title in Cremona with 63:52 and is considered as one of the Italian hopes for the future.

Ruban the women's favourite

Ukraine’s Yuliya Ruban starts as the favourite in the women’s race which also features Serbian Olivera Jevtic, Russian Silvia Skvortsova and Ethiopian Shitaye Gemechu.

Ruban finished tenth setting her 2:27:00 PB in Boston last April. Olivera Jevtic won the European silver medal in Gothenburg 2006 and set her 2:25:23 in 2003 when she won the Rotterdam. Shitaye Gemechu finished fourth in Paris in 2008 with 2:26:10 and more recently was fifth in Tokyo in 2:29:59.

Silvia Skvortsova won the Rome Marathon in 2005 with 2:28:01 and then went on to set her PB in Berlin clocking 2:26:23.

The Kenyan challenge will be led by Irene Kwambai (PB 2:33:09 in Hannover and 69:27 in the half-marathon in Prague ) and Rose Jepchumba (half marathon PB 70:15).

Fatna Maraoui, who recently clocked a solid 1:10:08 at the Italian Half Marathon Championships in Cremona, and Marcella Mancini, twice Italian Marathon champion in 2006 and 2010 and winner of the Milan Marathon in 2011, are the leading Italian entries.

The Turin Marathon launched the career of Prisca Jeptoo who won last year in Turin, which was a springboard event for her World Championships silver medal in Daegu where Kenya claimed the first ever podium sweep.

The race sets off from the Castle square in the heart of the city and runs across seven neighbouring towns (Moncalieri, Nichelino, Beinasco, Orbassano, Rivalta, Rivoli and Collegno) before returning to the Castle Square where the stars will cross the finish-line.

The Turin Marathon also features the Junior Marathon, an event which is becoming increasingly popular among children and young people up to the age of 16 who can take part with their families. The course of the Junior Marathon is the last mile of the Turin Marathon.

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF