Four Kenyans and an Ethiopian will next month spearhead the
largest African raid on the Great Ocean Road International Marathon
since it was first held in 2005.
The record number of top-level Africans in the 45.3km race
include two previous winners, Kenyans Charles Muturi (2009) and
last year's victor James Kipkelwon who set a course record of
2hours 27minutes 42seconds.
Kenyan Daniel Mweli, who finished second last year in 2.31.01
after dropping off the fierce early pace, will also return for
another tilt at the Great Ocean Road Real Estate-sponsored trek
from Lorne to Apollo Bay.
Up-and-coming Ethiopian Sisay Kisaye, who has a personal best
half-marathon time of 62minutes, will help ensure a cracking tempo
over the first 22kms to Kennett River.
Kisaye, 21, will join versatile Kenyan Nathan Kariuki, 29, as
first-timers in the event which will start at 8am on Sunday, May
20, at the Lorne Hotel.
Marathon director John Craven said today that, given reasonable
conditions, Kipkelwon's course record seemed certain to be
"This is by far the best line-up of Africans the Great Ocean
Road Marathon has been privileged to accommodate," Craven said.
"We will witness a world class race in breathtaking scenery on a
Great Ocean Road which will be free of regular traffic."
Craven said that the 2012 Festival of distance running format
would feature six events over the May 19-20 weekend.
Two new events - the Mizuno 6km dash from Apollo Bay to Morengo
and back and the 1.5km Tifosi Eyewear Kids' Gallop in the Apollo
Bay township - will kick off the festival on Saturday, May 19.
The Kids' Gallop, initiated to honour marathon founder Les
Noseda who died last year, will raise funds for the Apollo Bay
The two other Saturday events will be the 14km TAC Wheelchair
Athletes' Challenge from Apollo Bay to Paradise and back, and the
Geelong Advertiser run over the same course.
Sunday's marathon will be supported by the 23km Fagg's Mitre 10
half-marathon from Kennett River to Apollo Bay - the festival's
most patronized event.
Craven said the marathon festival hoped to reach the 4000
entries barrier for the first time.
"Entries are up about 16% on last year at this stage," he
The marathon festival will be launched in Geelong next Monday
and will be attended by patron Steve Moneghetti.
Entries close May 7. The marathon festival is supported by
Participants can enter online at www.greatoceanroadmarathon.com.au