Tomorrow's Volkswagen Prague Marathon, the traditional end of the spring marathon season, is no longer at the end of the line of the world's significant, spring marathons given Los Angeles' move to Memorial Day Monday, May 25. Nonetheless, it's the last important marathon in Europe before the fall season (apologies to Copenhagen, Radenci, Leiden and others).
Although not a huge race (last year's edition had 3699 finishers), Prague organizers have consistently put forth solid elite fields. Working to their advantage has been Prague's position as the "last stop" for marathoners in the spring season, often the last marathon opportunity for athletes who were injured earlier or couldn't get a starting spot at Boston or London.
This year is no exception. Patrick Ivuti, whose marathon victories include Chicago in 2007 and Honolulu in 2008, is the top entrant on the men's side with a 2:07:46 personal best. He's the best candidate to break Elijah Lagat's 1998 event record of 2:08:52. Kenyan compatriots David Kemboi (2:08:34 PB), Leonard Mucheru (2:09:37), defending champion Kenneth Mburu Mungara (2:10:37), and debutant Jonathan Maiyo (60:10 half-marathon) should be Ivuti's biggest rivals.
On paper, the top women's entrant is Eyrusalem Kuma who ran a personal best 2:26:51 at Dubai last January. But the Ethiopian athlete withdrew from the Rome Marathon in March, then dropped out of the Paris Marathon last month. Her compatriot Mulu Seboka (2:29:06) has a very good chance to win, as do Russia's Olga Glok (2:30:40) and Poland's 40 year-old Malgorzata Sobanska (2:26:08).
The winning man will earn 16,000 euro, while the winning woman will earn much less: 8500 euro. Time bonuses are available for both men and women, including 10,000 euro for a men's event record.
The race will offer live results tracking at PragueMarathon.com.