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NEWS Sep 4 2007

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon announces rest of Men's Start List

John Kelai on his way to victory at the Mumbai Marathon in January - an impressive 2:12:27 in hot, humid conditions, defeating 2:08 runner Gashaw Malese.

John Kelai on his way to victory at the Mumbai Marathon in January—an impressive 2:12:27 in hot, humid conditions, defeating 2:08 runner Gashaw Malese.

Organizers today announced the rest of the men's field, who will be joining returning champion Daniel Rono of Kenya, in the pursuit of a new Canadian All-comers record at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, September 30th. Last year, Rono ran a new course record of 2:10:15 for the victory, but was an agonizing 20 seconds shy of the fastest time ever run on Canadian soil—the 2:09:55 that East German Waldemar Cierpinski ran 31 years ago at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. Scotiabank is again offering a C$20,000 cash bonus for a new All-comers record.

This year's Start List includes eight other "hungry young men", athletes like Rono, who have run close to 2:10 recently, but not under the magic mark, and appear keen to do so.

John Kelai [Kenya, age 30 yrs.] is the only one in the group to have experienced the rarified air of a sub 2:10 finish, when he placed 4th at Eindhoven in 2:09:09 last October, and may be the man to watch for, if anyone is to beat the in-form Rono. Kelai has also enjoyed wins in Singapore and Brussels, and at Mumbai in January '07 where his 2:12:27 in hot, humid conditions was good enough to beat Ethiopian Gashaw Malese [2:08:03 PR in '06], who was 2nd in Paris in April in 2:09:53, one place ahead of Rono [2:10:28].

Rono and Kelai will be joined by fellow-Kenyans David Maiyo, Joseph Mutiso, Simon Wangai, Henry Kapkyai and Simon Njoroge. From Eldoret, like Rono, Maiyo [age 30 yrs.] ran his PR of 2:10:19 at Treviso, Italy in March this year. Mutiso, who is a training partner of veteran Jimmy Mundi, ran his PR of 2:10:34 in Dubai in January. Henry Kapkyai, a 24 year-old from Kaptagat, won the Caracovia Marathon in 2004 and the Graz, Austria Marathon in '05. He ran 2:10:43 in Turin last September for his PR.

Twenty-eight year-old Simon Wangai is no stranger to North American road racing. He won the US 25K Championship race at the River Bank Run in 2004 and 2005, running 73:27 in '05, for the 4th fastest time ever on the prestigious course. In '06 Wangai ran 2:10:35, good for 3rd place in the LA Marathon, and was the winner of the challenging Country Music Marathon in Nashville this Spring in 2:13:52. He followed that up with an impressive 7th place finish at Peachtree on July 4th in a PR of 28:46. He has competed with the best at New York City Marathon the past two autumns, and is looking to crack that 2:10 mark with a fast one in Toronto.

Simon Njoroge offers a nice Canada-Kenya story. The 27 year old from Nyahururu had been coming to Canada for the racing season for two years before he moved in with the Pauls family in Hamilton, Ontario, last summer. Dan Pauls, who manages his family's running store, convinced Simon to try a marathon last Fall. He went 30k in last September's Toronto Waterfront in a very relaxed 1:40, then went the whole way in the low-key Niagara Falls Marathon in October, for an easy win in 2:18:10.

Encouraged, he trained hard over the winter in Nyahururu, then returned to win the Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton this March in a course record of 1:32:50, for the 113 year-old race. The $4,000 he took home was his first major winnings. He then ran 2:11:15 at the ING Ottawa Marathon in late May, earning another $5,000 [and going through 30k in 1:32:20]. With his Canadian winnings, his family are building a good-looking new, wood-frame house in Nyahururu, and he's hoping to continue his streak at Toronto Waterfront, and earn enough for a fancy door and window frames on his "Canadian" house, and pay his youngest brother's school fees this winter.

Ethiopians Feyissa Tusse [age: 24 yrs.] and Kasime Adilo round out the lead pack. The 2006 winner of the Country Music Marathon, Tusse won Houston in January '07 in his best time of 2:11:39. "I am in good condition" claims Tusse. "We Ethiopians do not promise before the race—we see what happens in the competition. But I am confident that I will register a better time than my recent and personal best of 2:11:39. I am hopeful that Toronto Waterfront will give me a chance to have a better time and run Beijing."

Kasime Adilo ran 2:12:26 at Frankfurt last Fall, and his PR of 2:12:02 in Reims, France, in 2005. Both Tusse and Adilo belong to the Maremia Athletic Club and are currently training hard together on the forest trails at Sululta near Addis.

"We have a strong, evenly matched men's field this year," said Race Director, Alan Brookes. "I sure hope we get a good day and several of the guys go under 2:10, to put that 2:09:55 bogey to rest. It's been along time coming. We've had quite a rivalry with Ottawa in chasing it!"

CLICK HERE for Elite Men's Start List

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