After successfully defending his Sedan-Charleville Half Marathon title in France last Sunday, Rwandan Felicien Muhitira has geared up his preps ahead of this year’s 20km de Paris.
The 40th edition of the annual event takes place this Sunday and Muhitira, 23, has insisted he will be aiming to become the second Rwandan athlete to win the event’s gold as he seeks to follow in the footsteps of Dieudonne Disi in 2009.
Last Sunday, Muhitira who set the race’s current record of the quickest time last year, yet again proved his prowess as he beat a strong field of hopefuls, including Kenyans and Ugandans to reclaim his title at the 99th Sedan-Charleville Half Marathon.
He covered the 24.3 kilometre race in 1 hour, 11 minutes and 48 seconds, marginally beating his closest contender Elvis Tabarach of Kenya by two seconds. The latter had finished third at last year’s edition.
Since Sunday, the former Nyamagabe Athletics Club runner has been recharging and getting ready for the 20km de Paris where he made his debut appearance last year, and finished fourth.
“I really hope to win this race too this time, winning Sedan-Charleville Half Marathon last week for the second time in a row motivated me despite that I still feel the fatigue from the race,” said Muhitira in a telephone interview with Times Sport from France.
The annual race, which holds IAAF Bronze Label Road Race status and always held in October since 1979, takes place on the streets of the French capital, Paris, attracting top international athletes from around the world.
Last year, Muhitira missed out a podium finish by just three seconds after posting 58 minutes and 43 seconds; 15 seconds behind the race winner Collins Chebi of Kenya.
The middle and long distance runner was beaten to the bronze medal by Frenchman Florian Carvalho, who posted 58 minutes and 40 seconds while another Kenyan, Josphat Kiprono Menjo, scooped the silver medal.
Dieudonne Disi, now retired, remains the only Rwandan to have won this race when he claimed it in 2009 after clocking 59 minutes and 33 seconds.