Marseille, France – Meseret Mengistu will defend her women’s title when the 32th edition of International-Marseille-Cassis Classique will take place here on Sunday.

The Marseille-Cassis Classique is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.

In the men’s category, her fellow Ethiopians Lelisa Desisa and Deriba Merga will try to offer a first male victory to Ethiopia.

Meseret is slated for a repeat as she is currently in great shape running a personal in Nanning, China with 69:31 for 6th place. In April, the 20-year-old had made debuts at the Marathon, finishing 8th in Rotterdam with 2:34.07.

Her teammate Emebet Itaa Bedada, 20 as well, has proved her shape a month ago in willing in Turin Half Marathon with 70:54, which is the longest race she ever ran as she is relying on her speed which enable her to win 1500m and 300m at African Junior Championships in 2007, and a 3rd place at World Junior Cross-Country Championships in 2008.


Lelisa Desisa, two weeks after his 7th place at World Half Marathon Championships held in Nanning, has the profile to become the first Ethiopian winner of Marseille-Cassis. The 20-year-old, African Junior 10,000m champion, had placed second in the Paris Half Marathon in March and set his personal best with 59:59 in Abu Dahbi in January.

Desisa’s experienced teammate, Deriba Merga, 28, who place 4th at Beijing Olympic Marathon two years ago, arrives in South of France with questionable form, as he pulled out of his last two Marathons in Chicago and Chuncon this month, feeling out of shape.

Kenyans have won 12 out of the last 15 editions of Marseille-Cassis.