Kiptum and Tilahun the favourites in Venice
The 27-year-old is a former winner of the Hannover Marathon and has a PB of 2:09:56, making him the fastest man on the start-list. He has not contested a marathon this year, but clocked 1:01:10 over half the distance earlier in the year.
The Kenyan contingent will be also represented by Elijah Tirop, whose PB of 2:12:07 was set in Brighton last year, and Donald Kiplagat, while Samuel Ndiritu and Francis Waithaka will be making their marathon debuts.
Also making their debuts will be Ethiopia’s Behailu Mamo Ketema and Rwanda’s Jean Baptiste Simukeka. Based on his half-marathon PB of 1:00:53, Ketema could be something of an underdog. Simukeka’s half-marathon season’s best of 1:03:28 is just three seconds slower than Ketema’s.
Uganda’s Simon Rugut will be looking for more success on Italian soil, having triumphed at the Treviso Marathon earlier this year in a PB of 2:16:32.
Former national marathon champion Giovanni Gualdi is the leading entrant from the host nation.
Ethiopia’s Konjit Tilahun starts as the favourite in the women’s race. The 27-year-old improved her marathon PB to 2:28:11 earlier this year in Dubai and will be looking for the first marathon victory of her career.