The Valencia Marathon is on track to become one of the world’s top ten marathons
Over 100 national and international athletes will race through the streets of Valencia — ‘The Running City’ — on the 2nd of December in their quest to set a new Men’s Record (2 hours 05:15) and a new Women’s Record (2 hour 24:48). The challenge of setting new records in what the RFEA ranks as Spain’s best marathon is equalled by that of getting the event into the world’s top ten marathons and of chalking up one of the fastest individual times in 2018.
Among the men, one should note the participation of the Kenyan athlete Sammy Kitwara, who beat the trial record in the last edition of the race with a sizzling time of 2 hours 05:15. To date, this is the fastest time that a marathon has been run in Spain. Other international athletes running with Kitwara were the Ethiopian Leule Gebrselassie (who chalked up a time of 2 hours 04:02 in January) and his fellow-countryman Jemal Yimer. Here, one should note that Yimer is returning to Valencia after a brilliant performance in the last edition of the Half-Marathon (58:33, an Ethiopian national record), where he came second, only beaten to The Finish by World Record-holder Kiptum. The Kenyan runner Nobert Kigen, with a best time of 2 hours 05:13, also promises to be one of the top contenders.
In the Women’s category, the Kenyan Philomena Cheyech (2 hours 21:22) stood out, together with Ethiopian athlete Aberu Zennebe, the 2017 winner, who returns to Valencia to beat the current trial record held by Valary Jameli Aiyabei, who ran the 2016 edition of the race in 2 hours 24:48. Zennebe will battle it out for first place with her fellow-countrymen Meseret Mengistu Biru (2 hours 25:58), Tinbit Gidey Weldegebriel (2 hours 26:48), and Hayimanot Alemayehu Shewe (2 hours 25:51). Meanwhile, the debut of Meseret Tola and Buze Kejela, as well as the presence of the veteran Italian runner Valeria Straneo, will add further interest.
National runners battling to slash times
At the national level, Spain fields a strong group of runners Iván Fernández (2 hours 12:55); Ricardo Rosado, a debutante in this distance, and Iraitz Arrospide (2 hours 16:24), as well as the veteran Marc Roig, who trains with the Kenyan elite runners every day. Roig will be looking to run his fastest marathon ever. To do so, he has left his work as a physiotherapist and pacemaker for the world’s best athletes aside for a while in his battle to set his fastest personal time for the 42,195-metre trial. Among the women, one should mention Alicia Pérez, the national record-holder in the 50 and 100K events.
Leaving the national and international elite athletes aside for a moment, the Organisers will again run the Personal Best programme, which rewards those athletes/runners who set a new personal best of between 2 hours 10:00 and 2 hours 20:00 (Men) or between 2 hours 30:00 and 2 hours 45:00 (Women). In this edition, 60 runners from 29 countries will run Valencia’s lightning-fast circuit in their quest to set their best personal records.
An outstanding Bronze Label 10-Kilometre Race
In addition, the 10-Kilometre Valencia Trinidad Alfonso Race will sport the IAAF Bronze Label for the first time — yet another spur for the bevy of top athletes at the Start.
With regard to Spanish athletes, one should note Daniel Mateo, Juan Antonio ‘Chiki’ Pérez and experienced female runners such as Marta Esteban, Alessandra Aguilar, Marta Galimany, Maitane Melero, the last of whom came ninth in the last 10,000-metre event of the European Games, which were held in Berlin. The athlete Isabel Macías will also run the 10-Kilometre Race, which will be held in parallel with the Marathon.