Kenya’s conveyor belt of world-class runners produced yet another new name in 2015 as Geoffrey Ronoh became last year’s rising star. Signed as a pacemaker in the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon, he famously snatched victory, leaving behind superstars Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto. If Ronoh can transform the kind of form he showed last summer onto the marathon distance then he could produce some performance in Sunday’s Volkswagen Prague Marathon. While possessing to date a modest personal best of 2:15:51, Ronoh is justifiably considered one of the favourites. However, the fastest runner in the field has a PB that is almost ten minutes faster than Ronoh’s: Ethiopia’s Deribe Robi ran 2:06:06 in Dubai earlier this year and leads a field of nine sub 2:10 runners in Prague. As for the women’s race, Ethiopians are expected to lead the chase for the title. Five of them show personal bests of sub 2:25 and Koren Jelela is the fastest of this quintet with 2:22:43.
The Volkswagen Prague Marathon had its inaugural edition exactly 20 years ago. The race has developed into one of the world’s best quality marathon events and is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race. While 985 marathon runners competed back in 1995 this year organisers have once again a capacity field of 10,000 entries. Bib numbers sold out already half a year ago. “The Volkswagen Prague Marathon is an unbelievable success story. I have to thank all those who made it happen,” said the President of the organising team, Carlo Capalbo, who initiated the RunCzech Running League. Seven races spread through the Czech Republic registered 70,000 runners last year. “In total RunCzech has now had 770,000 runners within 20 years – we can be really proud of this,” said Capalbo.