May 14, 2009, Ottawa -- David Cheriuyot and Lioudmila Kortchaguina, the most consistent athletes of the Ottawa Marathon over the last half decade, are returning to the Ottawa Race Weekend.
David Cheriuyot (Kenya) has only lost once since first appearing at the Ottawa Marathon in 2005. He was 4th across the finish line in 2006. Each of his wins has followed a surprising trend -- defeating successively younger athletes in a sprint.
"My goal is to break the course record this year," said Cheriuyot. "I will try my best. Even with an injury from last year, I am ready to run and defend."
Cheriuyot's main competitors are Luka Chelimo (Kenya), Ketema Amensisa Tadesse (Ethiopia) and Ahmed Baday (Morocco). Chelimo, who has the fastest personal best in the field (2:10:30), is still looking for his first marathon win. Tadesse and Baday have also run marathons under 2:11.
If he wins, Cheriuyot will become only the second person to win the Ottawa Marathon four times. Says Cheriuyot: "I think I can do it, if God wishes."
Canadian challengers this year include Reid Coolsaet of Hamilton, Matt Loiselle of Toronto, and Steve Osadiuk of Langley. Coolsaet, Canada's top 5000 meter runner, is hoping to make the World Championship team with his debut marathon. The last time a Canadian male was on the podium in Ottawa was 2003.
Strong Competition for Canada's Lioudmila Kortchaguina
Toronto's Lioudmila Kortchaguina is considered the favourite female to win this year. She has won four of the five marathons she’s run in Ottawa (2002, 2004, 2006, 2007), and placed 2nd in 2005. After running a very solid 2:30 marathon in January, Kortchaguina will be looking for her fifth win. No other athlete has ever done that in the Ottawa Marathon.
Challenging Kortchaguina will be defending champion and course record holder, Asmae Leghzaoui (Morocco). Other challengers include Liza Hunter-Galvan (New Zealand), a consistent 2:30 marathoner, Irene Jerotich Kosgei (Kenya), a 2:31 marathoner who won the Nairobi (Kenya) marathon, and Selomie Getnet (Ethiopia) who has already run 2:33 this year.
See the backgrounder at RunOttawa.ca for the prize purse and a complete list of the elites competing in the Ottawa Marathon.
David Cheriuyot at the 2008 Ottawa Marathon