The upcoming 49th edition of the New Year’s Eve Boclassic Alto Adige road race in Bolzano on December 31st is set to be an exciting event, featuring a lineup of remarkable athletes.
Sebastian Kimaru Sawe, Yeman Crippa, Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi and Nadia Battocletti will start as the favourites at the Boclassic Alto Adige road race in this Sunday.
Sawe won the world half marathon gold medal in Riga last October in 59:10. The 28-year-old Kenyan top runner also claimed the win at the Berlin Half Marathon in 59:00, finished fifth at the Valencia Half Marathon improving his PB to 58:29 and performed very well over the 10 km distance winning two races at the Adizero Road to Records Lauf in Herzogenaurach in 26:49 (fifth best performance in the all-time list) and in Bangalore (India) in 27:59.
Reigning European 10000 metres champion Yeman Crippa from Italy will run the Boclassic in preparation for next February’s Seville Marathon. The Italian athlete of Ethiopian origin reached the podium in Bolzano for the first time in his career last year finishing second behind Oscar Chelimo. Crippa, who also finished fourth in Boclassic over the 5 km distance in 2020 in 13:20, won the silver medal at the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon 2019 and holds Italian records in the 3000 metres (7:37.90), 5000 metres (13:02.26), 10000 metres (27:10.78) and half marathon (59:26).
Sebastian Sawe: “I know Yeman Crippa and I have a lot of respect for him. I will do my best to win in Bolzano for the first time in my career”.
Yeman Crippa: “I feel in very good shape. I will try to keep the pace with Sawe. I will wear the bib number 1. I hope to fulfil the expectations of fans and cross the finish-line first”.
The other Italian top athletes are national 10 km record holder Pietro Riva, who dipped under the 1 hour barrier clocking 59:41 at the Valencia Half Marathon, Nekagenet Crippa, who improved his PB to 2:07:35 at the Valencia Marathon, Pietro Arese, who ran 3:33.11 in the 1500 meters semifinal at the World Championships in Budapest, and Osama Zoghlami, European bronze medallist in the 3000 metres steeplechase at the European Championships in Munich 2022.
Maxime Chaumeton will make his second appearance at the Boclassic. Last year the South African athlete led for six of the eight laps before crossing the finish-line in third place. Chaumeton won the national title in the 5000 metres on the track and finished second at the National Championships over the 5 km distance.
German marathon specialist Hendrik Pfeiffer will make his debut at the Boclassic. Pfeiffer improved his PB to 2:08:46 at the Berlin Marathon last September.
Women’s 5 km race:
Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi will be aiming to win the women’s 5 km race for the third time following her two consecutive wins in 2019 and 2020. Kipkemboi won three world medals (silver in the 5000 metres in Doha 2019, bronze in the 10000m in Eugene 2022 and silver in the half marathon in Riga 2023). The 30-year-old Kenyan athlete set her PBs of 8:21.53 in the 3000m in Paris 2021, 14:23.67 in the 5000 metres in Paris 2023, 30:10.07 in the 10000 metres in Eugene 2022 and 1:04:46 in the half marathon in Valencia 2023. She finished third in last year’s edition of the Boclassic. Kipkemboi is fifth in the world all-time list with 14:32.
Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi: “I feel in very good shape. I am looking forward to running in front of great fans. I hope to win for the third time in Bolzano”.
Kipkemboi will face Nadia Battocletti from Italy, who finished third at the Boclassic in 2021. The 23-year-old Italian runner will run her first race since the European Cross Country Championships in Brussels, where she won the silver medal. During a successful 2023 season Battocletti broke Roberta Brunet’s Italian record in the 5000 metres with 14:41.30 in London, finished fourth in the 3000 metres at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul and fifth in the 5 km at the World Road Running Championships in Riga improving the Italian record to 14:45. In the Latvian capital Battocletti missed the European record by 1 second over this distance held by Sifan Hassan. The last Italian winner at the Boclassic was Maria Curatolo in 1988.
Nadia Battocletti: “I will do my best on Sunday. I have already competed against Margaret Chelimo at the Olympic Games and at the World Championships. She is a great athlete”.
Another strong Kenyan athlete in the field is Nelly Chepchirchir, who finished fifth in the 1500 metres at the World Championships in Budapest and improved PBs to 3:56.72 in Xiamen in the 1500 metres and to 1:58.23 in Grosseto in the 800 metres.
Croatian marathon specialist Matea Kostro Parlov will make her second appearance at the Boclassic. Parlov won the European silver medal in the marathon in Munich 2022 and finished fourth at last year’s edition of the Boclassic. Earlier this year she won the Hannover Marathon improving her PB to 2:25:45.
The other top Italian athletes in the field are Ludovica Cavalli, finalist in the 1500 metres at the World Championships in Budapest with her PB of 4:01.84, Sara Nestola, European under 23 silver medallist in the 10000 metres in Espoo, Laura Pellicoro, double gold medallist in the 800 and 1500 metres at the World University Games in Chengdu, and Rebecca Lonedo.