The 2015 Marathon du Gabon will have its two previous men’s winner, Ethiopia’s Wosen Feleke and Kenya’s Peter Kurui, as well as Kenya’s 2007 world champion Luke Kibet on the start line of the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race on Sunday 29 November.
In tough weather conditions, Feleke won last year’s race in the Gabon capital Libreville in 2:23:02, the slowest of his 11 career marathons but ironically his only win to date. He can boast of a personal best of 2:10:56 from when he finished fourth in the 2013 Warsaw Marathon.
Kurui was much faster in 2013, the inaugural edition of what has quickly become one of Africa’s leading road races, winning in 2:14:42 and will be looking to return to that sort of form after not racing internationally since November last year.
Kibet, now 32, has a best time of 2:08:52 but that dates back to 2004. In January this year he ran 2:10:57 to finish third in Mumbai but his two most recent marathons – both in China – have been more modest, with sixth place at the Yellow River Marathon in 2:18:09 and then fifth in Hefei last Sunday in 2:17:02.
Also in the field, and the man who can be considered the favourite, is Kenya’s 2007 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships bronze medallist Evans Cheruiyot, the winner of this year’s Enschede Marathon in 2:09:40 back in April.
Ethiopia’s Hailu Shume will be another man to watch out for after going under 2:10 twice last year when winning in Rome and then Caen, in 2:09:47 and 2:09:27 respectively.
Shume’s most recent marathon saw him finish second in Geneva in 2:11:27 in May this year.
Around 15,000 runners are expected to take part in the weekend of activities which also includes a half marathon, 10km and children’s races.
The marathon itself starts in front of the presidential palace and much of the out-and-back course is along coastal roads by the Atlantic Ocean
Phil Minshull for the IAAF