Updated October. 16, 2010 11:08
A runner overcoming winds is expected to win this years Dong-A Ilbo Gyeongju International Marathon Sunday.
Winds will likely be a determining factor in the race in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province. The event will be jointly hosted by the city, province, the Korea Athletic Federation and Dong-A.
At the expected start of the race of 9 a.m., the city will likely see northwesterly winds of up to three meters per second.
One expert said, Even as southwesterly winds of 4.2 meters per second blew last year, last years marathon winner posted a course record of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 52 seconds. Since the course is circular, runners who effectively take advantage of winds will benefit from them.
○ Foreign champion likely
Jimmy Muindi of Kenya, 37, with a personal best of 2:7:50, is considered the best in the field at this years event. All elite runners confidently predicted victory for themselves Friday at a news conference at Gyeongjus Hyundai Hotel.
Muindi has suffered through a slump since setting his personal best at the Rotterdam Marathon in 2005, but has pledged to make a comeback and show his skills and experience as a veteran runner.
Yirdaw Dejene of Ethiopia, who placed second in last year`s Seoul International Marathon with a personal best of 2:8:30, said, "After completing the Dubai Marathon in February, I`ve prepared for this race. I plan on improving on my best time and winning."
Experts predict a four-way competition among Muindi, Kenyas Hillary Kimaiyo (age 32, 2:9:54), Moldovas Iaroslav Muşinschi (34, 2:8:32) and Kenyas Jacob Kipkorir Chesire (27, 2:10:59).
Coach Oh Chang-seok, who is leading the pace maker team, said, Muşinschi and Kimaiyo have made astonishing strides, lowering their best times event after event recently.
○ I am Koreas best
Among domestic male runners, Lee Myong-seung, 31, is considered the one to beat. He set a personal best of 2:13:25 at the Seoul International Marathon in March.
Ive prepared for this event by boosting my physical endurance and stamina, which are my weaknesses, he said. Ive exercised without suffering injury and conducted finishing drills including dietary therapy. So I have high expectations.
Among the women competitors, Chung Yoon-hee, 27, will likely be a leading contender. She missed this year`s Seoul marathon due to injury, but since completing rehabilitation therapy, she has prepared for this event in a systematic fashion.
Chungs personal best is 2:30:50. I briefly had a problem with my calf muscle, but its okay now. Ill do my best and win the race, she said.
○ Race with Gyeongju residents
Gyeongju Mayor Choe Yang-sik and Dong-A CEO Kim Jae-ho will run together in a 10-kilometer race. More than 900 faculty, staff and students from Uiduk University in Gyeongju will also join a five-kilometer race with some 80 foreign students attending the university.