Saturday, December 9, 2000
Fiacconi facesItalian star Franca Fiacconi said yesterday that running two marathons within a month's time is not unusual for her.
a tall order in
The Italian star is out
to beat the women's course
record in tomorrow's
By Pat Bigold
Therefore, said Fiacconi, she has every intention of trying to beat the strongest Honolulu Marathon women's field ever.
Marathon officials said last night there were 25,295 runners registered for tomorrow's 5 a.m. start. The figure is expected to reach 26,000 by today.
"Sometimes I run in two weeks or three weeks another marathon," said Fiacconi, who clocked 2:26:42 in Berlin Sept. 10 and 2:26:03 in New York City on Nov. 5.
"I run only the marathon, not 10 kilometers or any other races. I only train and run marathons. I am born for the marathon."
Those are pretty fast in the world of women's marathoning. Attempting to win on a tough terrain course like Honolulu to finish the year seems a tall order for any elite athlete.
"If there is not much humidity I will try to run 2:28:00 or 2:30:00," said the 35-year-old Rome native.
"The course, to me, is easy, but the weather is the problem."
That's also a tall order because the Honolulu course record, owned by Holland's Carla Beurskens, 48, is 2:31:01, set in 1986.
Many runners with sterling world class credentials have come to run Honolulu for the first time and found themselves up against a killer course.
But Fiacconi, who trains in Rome and said she enjoys training in the vicinity of the Coliseum, has the reputation of a road warrior and some observers say she will be a definite threat.
"When I run at home I feel like the gladiator," she said.
Fiacconi's insistence that she's rested and healthy throws new intrigue into a field that already includes two-time defending champion Irina Bogacheva of Kyrtgyzstan (2:26:27 in 2000 Boston Marathon), Lyubov Morgunova of Russia (2:26:32 in 2000 London Marathon) and Ren Xiujuan of China (2:25:32 in 2000 Jinan Marathon).
Also in the field are 19987 Honolulu champion Svetlana Zakharova and 1996 champion Ramila Burangulova, both of Russia.
Eight-time champion Beurskens is also in the field and is in excellent condition. But it is not expected she can keep pace with Fiacconi, Bogacheva and the other favorites.
The men's field will have two familiar Kenyan faces in the lead pack, defending champion Jimmy Muindi, running his eighth Honolulu race, and 1998 champion Mbarak Hussein, running his sixth race here. Hussein is the young brother of course record holder (2:11:43) Ibrahim Hussein, who won Honolulu in 1985, 1986, and 1987.
Kenyan Cosmas Ndeti, the three-time Boston winner who twice finished runner-up in Honolulu, has withdrawn from the field. But countryman Philip Taurus could be a factor with his 1999 personal best of 2:08:30 in the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.
South African national champion Johannes Maremane is also in the field. He ran his best time (2:11:15) in that nationals in March.
MenJimmy Muindi (Kenya): 1999 Honolulu champion; PR, 2:11:33, 1999, Prague Marathon.
Mbarak Hussein (Kenya): 1998 Honolulu champion; PR, 2:10:45, 1999, Rock 'n Roll Marathon.
Cosmas Ndeti (Kenya): 3-time Boston Marathon champion (1993-95); 2-time Honolulu runner-up; PR 2:07:15, 1994, Boston Marathon.
Philip Taurus ( Kenya): Honolulu debut; PR, 2:08:30, 1999, Rock n' Roll Marathon.
Reuben Chebutich (Kenya): Honolulu debut; PR, 2:10:39, 1998, Berlin Marathon.
Eliud Keiring (Kenya): Honolulu debut; PR, 2:11:19, 1999, Prague Marathon.
Johannes Maremane (South Africa): Honolulu debut; PR, 2:11:15, 2000, South Africa National Marathon.
Women's elite fieldIrina Bogacheva ( Kyrgystan): 2-time Honolulu champion (1998, 1999); 2000 Boston Marathon runner-up; PR, 2:26:27, 2000, Boston Marathon.
Franca Fiacconi ( Italy): Honolulu debut; 2000 NYC Marathon runner-up; PR, 2:25:17, 1998, NYC Marathon.
Ren Xiujuan (China): Honolulu debut; PR, 2:25:32, 2000, Jinan Marathon; 2:27:55, 10th, 2000 Olympics.
Lyubov Morgunova ( Russia): Honolulu debut; PR, 2:26:32, 2000, London Marathon.
Lydia Grigoryeva (Russia): Honolulu debut; Russian Cross Country Champion.
Irina Suvorova ( Russia): Honolulu debut; PR, 2:29:43, 2000, Twin Cities Marathon.
Svetlana Zakharova ( Russia):1997 Honolulu champion; PR, 2:27:08, 1999, Berlin Marathon.
Ramila Burangulova ( Russia): 1996 Honolulu champion; PR, 2:27:58, 1996, Nagoya International Women's Marathon.
Carla Beurskens (Netherlands):8-time Honolulu champion (1985-87, 1989-90, 1992-94); PR, 2:26:34, 1987, Tokyo International Marathon.