Budapest champion Lalli facing Campaccio contest | 23.12.2012
|Andrea Lalli, Budapest 2012 winner, will compete in Italy
at the Campaccio cross country race in January.
But a week into the New Year will arrive a test of his credentials in a tough race in one of the most prestigious distance running events on the winter circuit.
It will not quite be a homecoming for Italian Lalli in San Giorgio when the 56th staging of the Campaccio Cross Country takes place. He is from Florence, over 400 miles away, but he will still be the star of the show.
At 25, Lalli achieved quite a landmark in Hungary when he became the first runner to win gold at junior, under-23 and senior level at the European Cross Country Championships.
With success, arrives greater status, and all eyes will be on him on Sunday January 6.
His opposition will be of the highest quality.
They will be led by Kenyan Thomas Longosiwa, who won bronze in the 5000m at this summer's Olympic Games in London, and his fellow countryman Leonard Komon.
Komon was second in the Campaccio in 2011, beaten by another Kenyan, Joseph Ebuya, and will be looking to go one better.
Lalli will also faces his fellow Italian, Daniele Meucci from Pisa, and Muktar Edris, the Ethiopian who won the world junior 5000m champion from Barcelona in July.
When the Campaccio was first run in 1957, it was very much a domestic event with Italian Franco Volpi being the first champion.
He regained his title in 1962 as Italians won the first eight stagings of the race, but there has not been a home winner of the men's race since 1993 when Francesco Panetta triumphed in 34:05.
The last Italian winner was in the women's race the following year when Silvia Sommagio won in 22:41 in an illustrious event where that same year Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie took the men's race in 37:39 and future women's champions included Britain's Paula Radcliffe in 21:03 in 2002.
This year's women race sees two Italians who could make their mark in Elena Romagnolo, who was second in 2010, and Silvia Weissteiner.
Kenyan Priscah Cherono, the world bronze medallist in the 5000m in Osaka in 2007, and Katarzina Kowalska, the Polish 3000m steeplechaser, will also pose big threats.