Kenyan distance runner Norah Jeruto (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Houilles, France

Course records under threat in Houilles

The men’s and women’s course records will be in jeopardy at the 48th edition of the Houilles 10km in the suburbs of Paris where strong fields have been assembled for the World Athletics Silver Label road race on Sunday (29).

In the absence of last year’s winner Julien Wanders, Nibret Melak appears to be the main favourite. The Ethiopian clocked a personal best of 27:26 in Laredo in March, one second outside the Houilles course record set by Wanders. Melak, who has a 5000m PB of 13:07.27, will be running in Houilles for the first time.

Morocco’s Hamza Lamqartass should be a threat as he has a lifetime best of 27:51, set in March. Albert Chemutai should also feature. The 20-year-old Ugandan, who placed 12th at this year’s World Cross, finished third in Houilles last year in a PB of 27:53.

Cornelius Kangogo is familiar to the race. Three times a winner in Houilles between 2013 and 2016, the Kenyan set his PB here in 2013. Last year the 26-year-old finished sixth in 28:10.

Felix Kipkoech will also be running on familiar roads. The Kenyan won the Boulogne-Billancourt Half Marathon, near Houilles, in a PB of 1:00:12 last month.

The field also includes Haftu Teklu of Ethiopia, who set his best of 28:10 in Houilles last year. He was faster on the track in June, clocking 27:30:88 in Nijmegen. Daniel Simiu Ebenyo has also showed good recent form as he set a personal best of 28:23 last month.

Others strong contenders include Yohans Kifle and Berhane Tesfay of Eritrea, and Ethiopia’s Ayenew Alemu Yismaw, who finished second in Langueux in 2018 in a PB of 28:27.

French eyes will turn to the rising star Jimmy Gressier, who clinched a third U23 title in a row at the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon earlier this month. He’ll target a sub-28-minute time, as his 28:12 PB was set at last year’s event.

Benjamin Choquert will also be in the field one month after having clocking the marathon qualifying standard for the Olympics. He will be looking a sub-29-minute time.

The women’s race is expected to be fast throughout the three laps of 3.3km and features a duel between two top Kenyans.

Norah Jeruto, 24, is a steeplechase specialist and sits fifth on this year’s world list in that event, but she also recorded a strong 30:07 10km personal best in Prague in September. Gloria Kite, 21, ran 30:36 in Valencia last January.

Gete Alemayehu, who set a course record of 31:12 last year, will have a tough task in defending her title. The field also includes Nigsti Haftu Tesfay, who won the Corrida de Langueux in June.

French hopes will rest on Liv Westphal’s shoulders, who finished fifth at the recent European Cross Country Championships. She’ll attempt to improve her lifetime best of 32:35.

Quentin Guillon for World Athletics