Kiplimo takes Kandie crown to set up World Half showdown

The developing rivalry between Jacob Kiplimo and Kibiwott Kandie took another turn this Sunday as the Ugandan stole the Kenyan’s world half-marathon record thanks to a 57:31 clocking in Lisbon.

Alone in world record pursuit

Kiplimo made his move a startling 3k into the race, finding himself all alone with over ten miles left. Passing through 5k in 13:40 (57:40 pace), Kiplimo covered the next five in 13.25 (56:37 pace) to leave himself around ten seconds below world record pace.

Mindbogglingly Kiplimo went even faster for the next five as he clocked a 13.22 split. It meant he passed through 15k on 56:54 pace. The 40:27 split is a new 15k world best.

Running all alone for over 12k it is unsurprising Kiplimo slowed but he had enough time in the bank, finishing in 57:31 to edge out Kandie’s world record.

In speaking to the press after Kiplimo said:

“With one kilometre to go, I knew that I was going to break the world record. When I was on the final straight and saw the clock, I gave it all I had and told myself I had to sprint fast to reach the finish line.”

Kiplimo to the media after the race
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Kiplimo finished over two minutes ahead of his next challenger. Huseyidin Mohamed Esa was second in 59:39 edging out Gerba Beyata Dibaba (same time). Despite the gap nine men still broke 60 mins.

In the women’s race Tsehay Gemechu Beyan won in 66:06 ahead of Daisy Cherotich (66:15) and Joyce Chepkemoi Tele (66:19).

What’s next for Kiplimo?

With both the Commonwealth Games and World Champs happening next year it remains to be seen whether Kiplimo will head back to the track for the summer.

The World Half Marathon Champs takes place in Yangzhou, China on 27 March 2022 which may well be the next significant occasion in which we see Kiplimo in action.

There we will see the next installment of Kandie versus Kiplimo.

Featured image “Lisbon Half Marathon – 25 years” by JAASA2010 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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Berihu Aregawi – Ethiopia’s next great hope?

The 10,000m Olympic title belongs to Ethiopia. Selemon Berega’s incredible final 600m took the title away from an expectant Joshua Cheptegui and installed himself as the 25-lap king. Not far behind was another Ethiopian, one used to stalking the more famous stars but who shows increasing signs of setting the pace. Berihu Aregawi could be Ethiopia’s new distance phenomenon.

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    2018 and chasing Kipruto

    Aregawi is from Atsbi Womberta, a small town in the Tigray region of Northern Ethiopia. He only began to take the sport seriously at the age of 14. He’s caught up fast.

    Aregawi is from a gifted generation. In 2018 he made his debut outside Ethiopia, finishing third over 10,000m behind Rhonex Kipruto and Jacob Kiplimo in the World U20 Champs in Tampere. A good start but not groundbreaking for a nation that has won 40 golds throughout the championship’s history. Only the USA, Kenya and Russia have won more than Ethiopia.

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    Whilst Kiplimo and Kipruto broke barriers, Aregawi made steady progress in the background. In August over 3000m he ran 7.42 and 13.15 over 5000m ten days later. Mind-bending runs for a 17-year-old but efforts we have begun to normalise in an era of incredible junior running.

    At the end of the year Aregawi ran in the Youth Olympic Games Cross-County, being outsprinted by Kenya’s Jackson Muema for gold. It was a solid introductory year to international running.

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    Winning the Great Ethiopia Run

    2019 was quiet for Aregawi but did not go without one highly impressive win. The Great Ethiopia Run is an annual 10km race held at the altitude of Addis Ababa (c. 2,300m). Times should therefore be slow if not for the world-class calibre of the runners.

    Deriba Merga holds the course record from 2006 when he ran 28.18. Since then Mosinet Geremew, Hagos Gebrhiwet, Tamirat Tola and Selemon Berega have all tried to beat it.

    None have come closer than an 18-year-old Berihu Aregawi. 28.23, Aregawi had put the world on notice.

    Senior impressions

    If not for the coronavirus pandemic, Aregawi’s arrival on the senior stage may have come much sooner. In February of 2020, in the days running up to his 19th birthday he won in Metz over 3000m before finishing fifth in the World Indoor Tour in Lievin (7.35.78).

    His only other appearance that year was a narrow defeat to Nicholas Kimeli at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi. A 13.08.91 run at altitude represented another step forward but again a mark likely to go under the radar.

    A breakthrough 2021

    Aregawi’s 2021 opener was a return to Lieven. A 7.29.24 clocking in any other year would have had us talking of Aregawi as a Tokyo contender for gold over 5000m. Eighth on the all-time list it was only good enough for fourth on the day as Getnet Wale came within 0.08s of Daniel Komen’s 23-year-old world record.

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    If Aregawi had doubters he answered them emphatically in the Ethiopian Champs in April, beating Hagos Gebrhiwet, Yomif Kejelcha and Tadesse Worku for gold.

    Two months later he earnt his Olympic place in Hengelo running 26.50 for third and ran well for fourth in Tokyo. There is no great shame in either performance but Aregawi has since shown he is aiming far higher.

    Consistent improvement has Aregawi heading for top

    A fifth place at the Pre Classic over two miles (8.11.04) showed good range but it was at Lausanne that he started to show his class. Running 7.33.39 it was the way he pushed Jakob Ingebrigtsen all the way that will have given him the greatest comfort.

    In Zurich he kicked on, dominating Nicholas Kimeli, Birhanu Balew and Yomif Kejelcha to run sub 13.00 (12.58.65) on the city-centre street track.

    Last week Aregawi rounded off the year in style, winning over 5km in Lille and coming within a second of Joshua Cheptegui’s World 5k record. He did so finishing over 30 seconds clear of second place.

    It marks another year of impressive improvement for Aregawi, a man who is still early on in his professional career.

    If he improves once more he may well find himself with no-one left to follow. Ethiopian running and Berihu Aregawi are in rude health.

    Featured image is an edit of original image Meeting-de-la-Tchaux-champsseries-2021-09-09T011342.692

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    Jepchirchir shows class in unprecedented New York win. Korir shocks favourites.

    Peres Jepchirchir underlined her status as the finest female marathon runner on the planet with a devastating kick to take the New York Marathon title. In doing so she becomes the first female ever to win both Olympic gold and New York in the same calendar year.

    In the men’s race an impressive Albert Korir improved on his 2019 second place to defeat the pre-race favourites and take his first major marathon honours. It was a fitting reward for a bold move over six miles from the finish.

    Jepchirchir leaves it late on streets of New York

    Through halfway in 1.12.43 the leading pack was nine strong. It included four Americans in Annie Frisbie, Laura Thweatt, Molly Seidel and Kellyn Taylor. But it was at 30k where the race really took shape, a leading trio of Violah Cheptoo, Ababel Yeshaneh and Jepchirchir slowly pulling away from Molly Seidel in fourth.

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    Gaps behind them grew as the three of them covered 30-35k in 16.19 (sub 2.18 pace) before taking 35-40k in 16.43. From there it was Ababel Yeshaneh who was the first to make the move. Surging inside with around 800m to go Jepchirchir then made her own dash for home. Violah Cheptoo would track her but fail to close the distance.

    Jepchirchir’s winning time was 2.22.39 ahead of Cheptoo just five seconds back. Yeshaneh finished in 2.22.52 for third.

    Molly Seidel came home an impressive fourth in 2.24.42, herself running a significant negative split. (72:43: 71:59)

    Jepchirchir’s half splits were 72.43/69:56 as she came just eight seconds short of Margaret Okayo’s 2003 course record.

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    Albert Korir outlasts New York favourites

    The men’s race ignited only 10k in as Eyob Faniel and Mohamed El Aaraby set an aggressive pace for the second 10k. After an opening 30:46, Faniel split 29:45 from 10-20k to lead a seven-strong pack behind by 43 seconds.

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    By the half El Aaraby and Faniel’s lead had stretched to 51 seconds as they passed through in 63:57. At 25k Kibiwott Kandie and Albert Korir began to deem the gap too dangerous aggressively closed. 43 seconds behind at 25k they made the catch by 30k, splitting 14.11 on the way.

    Both men would slow down but it was Korir who held firmest, covering 30-35k in 14.57 as distance grew to El Aaraby and Kandie. Faniel was enduring a difficult patch in fourth. Pre-race favourites Abdi Nageeye and Kenenisa Bekele were over two minutes behind and out of the equation.

    All were suffering but it was Korir who managed best, extending the lead over El Aaraby to 27 seconds in a 15.43 35-40k. Korir rallied further by the finish to win in 2.08.22. El Aaraby was second (2.09.06) and Eyob Faniel a well deserved third (2.09.52). Kandie would fade to ninth in 2.13.43.

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    Elkaneh Kibert was fourth and first American in 2.11.15 with Nageeye and Bekele fifth and sixth.

    Korir would be rewarded for a significant negative split (64.50/63.32) to take the biggest win of a career that has featrued wins in Ottawa and Houston.

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    Valencia Marathon Preview – 5th December

    2021 has been a great year for elite marathons and Sunday 5th December may witness the best of the lot with the 41st edition of the Valencia Marathon. With an elite field to rival most marathon majors expect world record tilts and epic showdowns. Here’s our Valencia Marathon preview.

    What are the Valencia Marathon Course Records?

    Evans Chebet holds the Valencia Marathon course record with a time of 2.03.00. Only six men in history have ever run faster.

    The women’s record is held by Olympic champ Peres Jepchirchir whose 2.17.16 is the fifth fastest in the history of women’s marathon running.

    Valencia Marathon 2021 – Elite Men’s race preview

    Lawrence Cherono is the fastest in the men’s elite field courtesy of his second place finish in Valencia last year. His 2.03.04 is a truly world class best and he comes off the back of a fourth place finish in Tokyo.

    Brutal conditions there saw him fare worst in a three-way battle for second but the Kenyan remains a class act. The winner of both Boston and Chicago in 2019 he also took the Amsterdam title in 2017 and 2018.

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    In Geoffrey Kamworor, Cherono may face his greatest challenge, despite the three-time New York winner having only the seventh fastest personal best. Kamworor made his marathon debut in 2012 and his third place finish that day in Berlin remains his fastest to date (2.06.12). That doesn’t tell the full story of Kamworor who has rarely found himself at the traditional fast courses, at least since he seems to have mastered the distance. His marathon career so far reads as follows:

    • 2012 – Berlin – 3rd – 2.06.12
    • 2013 – Rotterdam – 4th – 2.09.12
    • 2013 – Berlin – 3rd – 2.06.26
    • 2014 – Tokyo – 6th – 2.07.37
    • 2014 – Berlin – 4th – 2.06.39
    • 2015 – New York – 1st – 2.10.48
    • 2017 – New York – 1st – 2.10.53
    • 2018 – New York – 3rd – 2.06.26
    • 2019 – New York – 1st – 2.08.13

    Kamworor will hope Valencia rewrites his personal best.

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    Amos Kipruto is the third fastest in the field thanks to his fourth place last year (2.03.30). The Kenyan is also a world bronze medallist from 2019. Kipruto’s career as a marathon runner has featured wins in Rome (2016) Seoul (2017) as well as podiums at Tokyo and Berlin (both 2018). The Kenyan will hope to return to form having dropped out of the Olympic marathon and finished 18th in Tokyo in 2020.

    The Ethiopian challenge

    Mule Wasihun will spearhead the Ethiopian challenge and boasts a 2.03.16 best from London in 2019. Somewhat shockingly Wasihun has never won a city marathon, but has podiumed at Dubai (2017), Amsterdam (2018) and London (2019). It would be some time to break that duck. Wasihun was last seen finishing fifth at last year’s London Marathon (2.06.08).

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    Getaneh Molla is no stranger to upsetting the odds having won Dubai in 2019 in the fastest marathon debut of all-time (2.03.34). But his quiet 2020 and 2021 mean he will not start favourite. Since winning Dubai, Molla has raced sparingly, finishing 19th in Tokyo last year (2.08.12) and 10th in the Ethiopian 10,000m trials for Tokyo (27.44).

    Kinde Atanaw has tasted what it feels like to win in Valencia, having taken the title in 2019 (2.03.51). He failed to finish in his attempt to defend the title in 2020 and was last seen finishing sixth in Prague earlier this year (2.11.00). This is only Atanaw’s fourth marathon and he will hope to return to form.

    Half marathon star Amdalak Belihu will hope for a competitive debut at the marathon distance. The Ethiopian boasts a 58.54 best over the half, finishing second in the Delhi Half in 2020. Belihu was fifth at World Half Champs in 2020 and won Delhi Half in 2019. He is one to watch.

    The best of the rest

    Gabriel Geay of Tanzania is a marathon stud on his day but will hope to find consistency in Valencia. Geay failed to finish his first two attempts at the distance, both in Lake Biwa in 2019 and 2020. He ran 2.04.55 earlier this year in Milan to finish sixth but failed to finish the Olympic marathon. This is his fifth attempt at the distance.

    Valencia Marathon 2021 – Elite Women’s race preview

    The women’s field at Valencia isn’t quite as strong as previous years but does feature some talented athletes.

    A stacked Ethiopian quintet

    Guteni Shone heads the field with a 2.20.11 best from Dubai in 2020. The Ethiopian was second earlier this year in Prague (2.21.46) and is a Ottawa Marathon winner from 2017 (2.30.18), Seoul in 2015 (2.26.22) and Seville in 2019 (2.24.28). The experienced campaigner lines up for her 19th marathon.

    Azmera Gebru will share Ethiopia’s hopes and has had a solid career at the distance. Third in Amsterdam on debut in 2018 (2.23.31), she was second the next year in Paris (2.22.52) and sixth in Tokyo in 2020 (2.22.58). Her last attempt was in Milan earlier this year, where she failed to finish but if she does get round the course she always seems to perform.

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    Tadelech Bekele is the third of the Ethiopians on paper, with her 2.21.40 best ran in 2018 thanks to a third place in London. Bekele won Amsterdam that year (2.23.14). Her more recent marathons include a DNF in London in 2019 and a ninth place in Valencia two years ago (2.22.53). With no racing since January 2020, it remains to be seen just which Bekele we will see.

    Rahma Tusa is a three-time Rome winner with her last title coming in 2018 where she ran her 2.23.46 best. The Ethiopian’s last outing came in a seventh place finish in Siena (2.25.09)

    Surprise packages?

    The Seville winner from 2020, Juliet Chekwel of Uganda is another who will hope to return to form. That day she ran 2.23.13 over half an hour better than her 69th place finish at this years Olympics. With horrible conditions in Japan, Chekwel may yet be Valencia’s surprise package.

    Nancy Jelagat may only have a 2.36.22 best but her 65.21 clocking at the Berlin Half suggest considerable scope for improvement. Jelagat’s last attempt at the distance resulted in a DNF in London (2020) and her only other attempt remains her win in Treviso in 2019. With a 30.50 10km clocking on the roads if she can judge her effort the Kenyan may be one to watch.

    Melat Kejeta has performed admirably for Germany. Kejeta was sixth at the Olympics over the marathon. and won a silver medal at the World Half Marathon Champs in 2020. It would perhaps be disingenuous to call her a surprise package (she’s well credentialed) but her best remains a 2.23.57 clocking from Berlin in 2019 (6th). This will be her third marathon.

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    Others to watch?

    This is the fourth marathon of Bornes Chepkirui‘s 2021 and she will hope to improve on a difficult year so far. Failing to finish in Milan she was 41st in Eldoret in June and third in Rotterdam in October. With a very swift turnaround from her Dutch outing it may be a tough ask for her to challenge the best of the Ethiopians. Chepkirui holds a 2.21.26 best, achieved in winning the Ljubljana Marathon in 2019.

    Dorcas Tuitoek makes her second attempt at the marathon with her previous attempt resulting in a 2019 DNF in London. That year she ran 66.33 over the half has not yet shown that form in 2021. The Kenyan has run 69.04 and 70.58 over the half so far this year.

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    Featured image “Geoffrey Kamworor, IAAF World Half Marathon” by ChiralJon is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Athletics Craziest World Records (10-6)

    Letsenbet Gidey’s astonishing world half marathon record was not of this planet. But just how good was it and where does it rank in the list of craziest world records in athletics? Here’s ten to six.

    10. Paula Radcliffe – London Marathon – April 2003

    Within two years of taking to the event, Paula Radcliffe had broken the world record twice but it was her second that really pushed the event to a new level.

    After winning Chicago in a new mixed race world record (2.17.18), Radcliffe came to London already in possession of the course record.

    London wasn’t supposed to be the course to shatter the world record once more.

    “I once said that London couldn’t be a fast course…”

    Paula Radcliffe after winning London in 2003.

    Two hours, fifteen minutes and twenty-five seconds later that illusion was shattered. Radcliffe’s time is still the second fastest in history, only bettered by Brigid Kosgei in an era of supershoes. That it has been broken is the only reason Radcliffe’s run doesn’t rank higher in athletics all-time craziest world records.

    9. Jonathan Edwards – Gothenburg – July 1995

    No this isn’t a British all-time list!

    The 1995 World Championships in Gothenburg was the occasion where Edwards made his mark. Jumping a wind illegal 18.43m earlier in the year in the European Cup came to Sweden with only a pair of Commonwealth silvers to his name.

    By the end of the final he had broken the world record twice. His first jump made him the first man to legally break 18 metres before jumping even further next time up. Edwards mark of 18.29m remains the furthest in history, over 26 years since he managed the feat.

    Only six men in history have jumped over 18 metres. Edwards did it twice in one night.

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    8. Genzebe Dibaba – Monaco – July 2015

    Genzebe Dibaba’s place on this list is assured by virtue of just how mental the previous world record was. Qu Yunxia’s mark of 3.50.46 was run at the Chinese National Games in 1993 and broke the existing world record by over two seconds.

    In the 22 years after Yunxia’s feat no athlete came within three seconds of her time, Dibaba herself running a personal best of 3.54.11 just nine days before Monaco.

    When Dibaba set out at world record pace at the Stade Hercules only Sifan Hassan would dare follow. 60, 64, 60 once more, Dibaba would close the final 300m in just over 45 seconds to break Yunxia’s record.

    No-one has got within a second of Dibaba’s 3.50.07 since.

    7. Stefka Kostadinova – Rome – August 1987

    High-jumper Stefka Kostadinova now possesses the third oldest world record in track and field. The Bulgarian possesses five of the top ten jumps in history and it is her 1987 Rome World Championship 2.09m winning jump that sets her apart.

    Kostadinova is now head of the Bulgarian Athletics Federation and would add Olympic Gold to her resume in Atlanta 1996.

    The best since? A 2.08m clearance by Blanka Vlasic in Zagreb in 2009. It is a mark that could last a few more years yet.

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    6. Hicham El Guerrouj – Rome – July 1998

    Hicham El Guerrouj has a very strong case for being the finest middle distance athlete in history. The Moroccan even has an argument to say this isn’t his best world record (The other being his 3.43.13 mile best).

    But it is difficult to argue against El Guerrouj’s 1500m run in Rome being one of the best in athletics history.

    3.26.00 he took 1.37 seconds off Noureddine Morceli’s 1995 mark and backed it up by finishing with seven of the nine fastest times ever.

    Bernard Lagat and the banned Asbel Kiprop are the only to come within a second of his now 21-year-old record.

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    Featured image “Paula Radcliffe” by ccho is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    A long run for home, Kipyogei and Kipruto take Boston Marathon 2021 titles.

    Benson Kipruto and Diana Chemtai Kipyogei ensured a Kenyan double atop the Boston marathon podium, as bold runs for home were rewarded with 2021 glory. In a captivating race for the neutral, both races featured high drama without ever chasing fast times. In an era of pace-maked processions this was marathon running at its enthralling best.

    Kipruto with one of the fastest closes in history.

    The men’s race featured a surprise leader thanks to the USA’s CJ Albertson. Albertson, who ran 2.42.30 over 50k on the track in November for a world best, came to Boston with a 2.11.18 personal best over the marathon. With a lead of almost one minute by 5k (14.29), one minute 37 seconds by 10k (29:32) and over two minutes through the half (64:08) Albertson was slowly reeled in by a huge chasing pack. The twenty-eight-year old caught past the twenty mile mark.

    And it was from here that the race really came alive as sixteen men were within five seconds of the lead through 35k. Benson Kipruto was the man to make the move with a ludicrous 14:06 split from 35-40k. It was enough for a 37 second lead. Though the gap would not significantly lengthen Kipruto continued to close hard with a massive negative split for the win in 2.09.51 (66:21/63:30).

    Kipruto’s win, whilst the biggest of his career comes after an impressive win in Prague earlier this year. It is his first major marathon honour.

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    Behind Kipruto, Lemi Birhanu Hayle and Jemal Yimer battled it out for second place with the 2016 winner Lemi Birhanu Hayle winning the sprint in 2.10.37 (Yimer was one second behind).

    Colin Bennie ran a smart race for seventh and first USA athlete home in 2.11.26 with CJ Albertson rallying to 2.11.44 for a highly creditable tenth.

    Kipyogei is rewarded for bold bid for Boston glory

    In contrast to the men’s race, the women’s race was tactical until the 25k mark where Diana Chemtai Kipyogei made her move. A pack of thirteen featuring all the pre-race favourites was splintered as the Istanbul Marathon winner built a ten second lead through 30k. Behind her one group of six and a second five seconds adrift.

    Half-marathon star Netsanet Gudeta deemed Kipyogei’s move too dangerous to let go, slowly reducing the arrears until the two shared the lead past 35k, a three strong group of Ngugi, Kiplagat and Ngige thirty seconds behind.

    Gudeta’s move to close the gap slowly proved the Ethiopian’s downfall as Kipyogei pulled away once more with now Edna Kiplagat her closest challenger 27 seconds back at 40k. For a few fleeting seconds Kiplagat’s dash for home looked like it may provide one of the most epic finishes in Boston history but as the excitement amped up Kipyogei held firm, running a huge negative split for the win (74:11/70:34).

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    Kipyogei’s first marathon major win in 2.24.45 was 24 seconds ahead of Kiplagat with Mary Ngugi a highly impressive third (2.25.20). Ngige finished fourth (2.25.32) with Gudeta suffering for fifth (2.26.09). Like Kipruto, Kipyogei is an athlete in form having won in Istanbul in 2020.

    Nell Rojas was the first USA athlete home in 2.27.12 for sixth.

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    Featured image “the men’s lead pack on heartbreak hill boston marathon 2015” by Rob React is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Jepkosgei and Lemma take the honours in London marathon war of attrition

    Joyciline Jepkosgei and Sisay Lemma both ran away from the rest of the field to claim the titles at the 2021 London Marathon.

    The women’s race – Jepkosgei shows her class

    If anyone wants a lesson in marathon running, tell them to watch Jepkosgei’s performance today. The Kenyan went through halfway in 68:51 before running the second half just one second slower to run 2.17.43, seventh on the all-time list.

    Heading through the half the pack was eleven strong, with all the favourites in contention. Slowly it was whittled down. Alemu Megertu was the first to go, not far past halfway. Next up Tigist Girma and Birhane Dibaba starting to feel the pinch at 25k. Next came Joan Chelimo Melly, then Valary Jemeli, by 35k the race had revealed its final cast.

    Five remained. Jepkosgei hit the front through 35k, Degitu Azimeraw, Ashete Bekere, Lornah Chemtai Salpeter closing tracking with Brigid Kosgei slowly starting to crack.

    As the 2020 winner started to become detached Jepkosgei made her move, pulling away from the pack and establishing a fifteen second lead relatively quickly. In her wake Azimeraw and Bekere.

    By 40k the gap was fourteen seconds with Azimeraw the first of the two Ethiopians and it was a lead Jepkosgei was to maintain down the Mall. In doing so Jepkosgei adds London to her 2019 New York triumph and has established herself as the closest challenger to Olympic champ Peres Jepchirchir. That would be some battle one day down the line.

    Azimeraw finished fifteen seconds back, her 2.17.58 enough to make her the ninth fastest female of all-time, with Bekere twenty seconds behind and eleventh on the same list.

    Joyciline Jepkosgei12.17.43
    Degitu Azimeraw22.17.58
    Ashete Bekere 32.18.18
    Brigid Kosgei42.18.40
    Lornah Chemtai Salpeter52.18.54
    Valary Jemeli62.20.35
    Joan Chelimo Melly72.21.23
    Zeineba Yimer82.21.40
    Tigist Girma92.22.45
    Charlotte Purdue102.23.26
    Birhane Dibaba112.24.21
    Sinead Diver122.27.16
    Alemu Megertu132.27.18
    Eloise Wellings142.29.42
    Rose Harvey152.29.45

    Britain’s Charlotte Purdue produced an impressive run with a slight negative split (71:44/71:42) for third on the British all-time list, just seven second behind Mara Yamaouchi. Rose Harvey impressed also with 2.29.45, just fifteen seconds outside the World Champs qualifying time.

    The men’s race – Lemma has his moment

    The men’s race had early drama with 2020 winner Shura Kitata dropping back after just five kilometres. By 10k the Ethiopian was twenty-five seconds adrift of a lead pack running aggressively from the off.

    Evans Chebet, Vincent Kipchumba, Titus Ekiru, Mosinet Geremew, Birhanu Legese and Sissay Lemma lead a pretty elite group up front, four of which have run 2.03.00 or under. 29.13 through 10k the leading six passed half way in 1.01.25, with Eliud Kipchoge’s 2.02.37 course record looking under some threat.


    Six became five shortly after 25k with the withdrawal of Titus Ekiru. The Milan winner from early this year was one of the big pre-race favourites. Barring Ekiru’s withdrawal none of the contenders proved willing to show their cards, something that at the time looked tactical but was made clear by what came next.

    Sissay Lemma splits

    The London Marathon winner would be decided by who could hold their pace best. While Lemma looked to be flowing away from Kipchumba and Geremew from 35k you need only look at his splits to see it was more a case that the Ethiopian held it together best.

    Lemma crossed the line in an impressive 2.04.01, a time all the more creditable given a strong early pace. His splits of 61:26/62:35 were enough to deliver the greatest win of a highly consistent marathon career.

    Three podiums at London, Berlin and Tokyo are now joined by the biggest them all and one that will do well to erase the dissapointment of his DNF at the Olympics. His 22nd career marathon, it is also a lesson many marathon men would do well to heed.

    Sisay Lemma12.04.01
    Vincent Kipchumba22.04.28
    Mosinet Geremew32.04.41
    Evans Chebet42.05.43
    Birhanu Legese52.06.10
    Shura Kitata62.07.51
    Phil Sesemann72.12.58
    Joshua Griffiths82.13.39
    Matthew Leach92.15.31
    Andrew Davies102.15.36
    Jonny Mellor112.16.09
    Weynay Ghebreselassie122.16.27
    Charlie Hulson132.17.02
    Josh Lunn142.18.06
    Mo Aadan152.18.19

    Sesemann wins British marathon title.

    Behind Lemma the British contest was took shape from 20-25k with Phil Sesemann putting a significant dent to his nearest challenger Josh Griffiths. A 15:31 5k split saw him put 32 seconds into the Swansea athlete who showed serious strength to rally over the final miles. 1 minute 26 seconds behind at 30k Griffiths would close the gap to 41 seconds by the finish. Sesemann finished in an impressive debut of 2.12.58, Griffiths, 2.13.39 with Matt Leach running 2.15.31 for a significant personal best.

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    London Marathon 2021 – The British Preview

    Here’s our British preview of the 2021 London Marathon.

    London acts as an qualifier for the 2022 World Championship Marathon in Eugene. With potential Commonwealth and European spots also to fight for, the race amongst the Brits looks as good as ever.

    For our full previews for the race as a whole see here for men, and here for women.

    London Marathon – British Women Preview

    The British women in the elite race are as follows:

    AthletePersonal Best
    Charlotte Purdue2.25.38 (London, 2019)
    Natasha Cockram2.30.03 (Kew, 2020)
    Rose Harvey2.30.58 (Wrexham, 2021)
    Naomi Mitchell2.33.23 (London, 2020)
    Becky Briggs2.38.58 (Kew, 2021)
    Samantha Harrison2.51.33 (Manchester, 2017)

    Purdue seeks redemption

    Charlotte Purdue’s omission from the Olympic marathon team was well publicised and clearly still rankles to some degree. On the question of potentially qualifying for the World Championship Marathon in Eugene, Purdue said the below:

    “I can’t say there won’t be selection issues because you never know what they’ll do.”

    Charlotte Purdue on potential World Championship qualification

    As tongue-in-cheek as the comment may have been meant, Purdue knows that a strong run should earn her place. The Nic Bideau coached athlete has stated she is going for Mara Yamauchi’s 2.23.12 best, a time which would elevate her from fourth to second on the British all-time list. With a recent third place finish at the Great North Run (68:49) and a win at the Big Half (69:51), both difficult courses, the thirty-year-old looks in impressive shape.

    Those chasing the World Champs standard

    Natasha Cockram enters London as the defending champion as far as British runners go. Her 2.33.19 in difficult conditions was enough to hold off the challenge of Naomi Mitchell. Cockram will be aiming to lower her 2.30.03 Welsh record, achieved in finishing second at the Marathon trials in June.

    She will also have a very big eye on the World Championship standard of 2.29.30, a standard she may well find herself capable. Cockram enters the race off the back of a ninth place finish at the Great North Run (72.59) and says this is the first time she has entered a marathon injury free.

    Embed from Getty Images

    In perhaps better form is Rose Harvey. The Clapham Chasers athlete has exploded onto the scene thanks to a fourth place finish in the Cheshire Elite marathon. Her 2.30.58 was almost a twenty-five minute pb. Coached by Phil Kissi (also coach of Steph Davis), more recently Harvey came third in the Antrim Coast Half in a big personal best of 70:28. She has realistic hopes of a sub 2.29.30 clocking.

    No stranger to massive breakthroughs herself, Samantha Harrison broke 70 minutes for the half earlier this year (69:48) and was second at the recent Big Half (70:39). Harrison’s only previous marathon was the Manchester Marathon in 2019 where she ran 2.51.45. It is a time she will look to obliterate on Sunday, despite being coy on what pace group she will target.

    The outside shots.

    It is perhaps harsh to call Naomi Mitchell an outside shot, her second (British) place in London last year was hot on the heels of Natasha Cockram, and at one point she looked like she may well beat her. The Reading AC athlete was seventh at this years Olympic trials in 2.37.50 and raced most recently at the Big Half where she ran 74.23 for fifth. Mitchell will also be aiming to run the 2.34 England Commonwealth Games standard.

    Becky Briggs made her marathon debut in Kew, finishing eighth in 2.38.58. Briggs was seventh in Antrim (73:30) and will hope to improve on her best from March.

    London Marathon 2021 – British Men Preview

    The elite men in the British race are as follows:

    Athlete Personal Best
    Jonny Mellor2.10.03 (Seville, 2020)
    Mohamud Aadan2.12.20 (Kew, 2021)
    Joshua Griffiths2.13.11 (London, 2020)
    Charlie Hulson2.13.34 (London, 2020)
    Andrew Davies2.14.36 (Valencia, 2019) V40 British Record
    Nick Torry2.15.05 (Frankfurt, 2013)
    Weynay Ghebresilasie2.17.21 (London, 2019)
    Matt Leach2.17.38 (Marathon Project, 2020)
    Josh Lunn2.17.59 (London, 2020)
    Dan Nash2.18.51 (Brighton, 2019)
    Ross Skelton2.19.21 (Amsterdam, 2019)
    Doug MussonDebut (64:36 Half Best)
    Jamie CroweDebut (64:19 Half Best)
    Phil SesemannDebut (62:47 Half Best)

    Another redemption attempt

    Jonny Mellor returns to London hoping to be the first Brit for the second time in a row. The Liverpool Harrier ran 2.10 twice in 2020 but suffered a freak gout injury before the Olympic trials. Mellor was subsequently not selected for Tokyo but made his return at the Big Half. His 64:44 shows some room for improvement but Mellor has experience of rising to the occasion (He ran 64.46 three weeks before 2.12 in Berlin in 2019). He will hope to break 2.10 for the first time and will keep an eye on the 2.11.30 World Championship qualifying time.

    “I’m a highly motivated runner but it’s definitely a bit more fuel to the fire”

    Jonny Mellor on not being selected for Tokyo

    The chasing pack

    Mohamud Aadan will tow the line for his second marathon, having debuted in Kew in March (2.12.20 for third). The Thames Valley Harrier comes into London high on confidence after a third place finish in the Big Half (62:28) and will have realistic aspirations of chasing the 2.11.30 standard. Aadan was sixth Brit at the 10,000m Olympic Trials.

    Josh Griffiths already has the Welsh Commonwealth Games standard so may decide to go for broke and chase the World standard instead. The Swansea athlete also will be targeting the father/son world record currently held by Tommy and Eoin Hughes (4.59.22), a side goal Griffiths feels confident of achieving.

    Embed from Getty Images

    Commonwealth standard pushes

    Charlie Hulson has run below the Commonwealth standard but not within the qualifying period and will aim to repeat the feat after a difficult 2021 with injuries. The New Balance Manchester athlete, coached by Steve Vernon, has a 64:28 half marathon best from 2019. His only outing this year was a second place finish in the Chester Half (67:02), a measured run two weeks out from London.

    Andrew Davies, another Steve Vernon athlete, will also be targeting the Commonwealth standard. The Welsh standard is 2.15.30, a time Davies was within 20 second off at Kew. Davies has raced two Commonwealth Games so far (17th in 2014, 11th in 2018) and has also represented GB at the 2017 World Champs. Running the standard would cap a truly remarkable career for the former semi-pro footballer who took up running seriously well past his 32nd birthday. Davies ran 67:42 at the Chester Half behind Hulson.

    Phil Sesemann makes his debut after a very solid 2021 where he competed at the Euro Indoors over 3000m. The Leeds City AC athlete will feel capable of running the 2.14 English Commonwealth standard.

    The outside shots

    Matt Leach is better than his 2.17.38 suggests. The Bedford & County runner has a 62:57 half marathon best from the Houston Half and may target the English Commonwealth standard.

    Others chasing a potential commonwealth standard will be:

    England (2.14.00): Doug Musson, Ross Skelton, Nick Torry (13th in Glasgow 2014)

    Scotland (2.15.12): Jamie Crowe, Weynay Ghebresilasie

    Wales (2.15.30): Josh Lunn, Dan Nash

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    Featured image Eddie Keogh for Virgin Money London Marathon

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    Who is the greatest female marathon runner of all time?

    With the news this week of the retirement of marathon supremo Mary Keitany we ask ourselves the perennial question, who is the greatest female marathon runner of all time? Here’s our top five. In deciding the list we’ve taken into account times run (for their era), major marathons won, global titles and the length of their dominance.

    5. Brigid Kosgei

    Brigid Kosgei’s 2.14.04 run in Chicago 2018 makes her place on this list hard to refute but she will need to do more to nudge herself to the top.

    Kosgei made her marathon debut back in 2015, running 2.47.59 to take the win in Porto. She has since racked up wins in Milan, Honolulu, Chicago and London (both twice). Her second place to Peres Jepchirchir in the Tokyo Olympics means she will have strong competition for the best in her era, though the two may well end up top of the all-time pile.


    • Porto Marathon – 1st – 2.47.59


    • Milan Marathon – 1st – 2.27.45
    • Lisbon Marathon – 2nd – 2.24.45


    • Boston Marathon – 8th – 2.31.48
    • Chicago Marathon – 2nd – 2.20.22
    • Honolulu Marathon – 1st – 2.22.15


    • London Marathon – 2nd – 2.20.13
    • Chicago Marathon – 1st – 2.18.35


    • London Marathon – 1st – 2.18.20
    • Chicago Marathon – 1st – 2.14.04 (World Record)


    • London Marathon – 1st – 2.18.58


    • Tokyo Olympics – 2nd – 2.27.36

    4. Rosa Mota

    Rosa Mota may not have ever broken the world record in her time competing but she did put together a series of performances that few in history have rivalled. A winner in Rotterdam, Chicago (2), Boston (3) Osaka and London, the Portuguese star also won two European titles, Olympic gold and bronze and a World Championship triumph in 1987. It is enough to make her fourth on our list.

    Embed from Getty Images

    Such a body of work alone edges her ahead of Joan Benoit and on to my all-time list. Given Mota’s fastest time came in a third place finish to Benoit and Kristiansen I know that is not without controversy.

    Rosa Mota’s Career Marathons


    • Rotterdam Marathon – 1st – 2.32.27
    • Helsinki World Champs – 4th – 2.31.50
    • Chicago Marathon – 1st – 2.31.12


    • Los Angeles Olympic Marathon – 3rd – 2.26.57
    • Chicago Marathon – 1st – 2.26.01


    • Chicago Marathon – 3rd – 2.23.29


    • European Champs – 1st – 2.28.38
    • Tokyo Marathon – 1st – 2.27.15


    • Boston Marathon – 1st – 2.25.21
    • Rome World Champs – 1st – 2.25.17


    • Boston Marathon – 1st – 2.24.30
    • Seoul Olympics – 1st – 2.25.40


    • Los Angeles Marathon – 2nd – 2.35.27


    • Osaka Marathon – 1st – 2.27.47
    • Boston Marathon – 1st – 2.25.24
    • European Champs – 1st – 2.31.27


    • London Marathon – 1st – 2.26.14
    • Tokyo World Champs – DNF

    3. Mary Keitany

    Mary Keitany’s marathon debut came back in London in 2007 when the twenty-five year old Kenyan failed to finish. A half marathon star, Keitany won the World Half Marathon Champs in 2009 before giving the marathon a second shot. Third in the New York City Marathon of 2010 (2.29.01) a solid performance but short of the standard she was to set.

    Keitany’s emergence as the heir apparent to Radcliffe only made itself clear in 2011 when the largely unfancied Kenyan ran one of the fastest times in history. In running 2.19.19 to claim the London title she became the fourth fastest female of all time.

    By the end of her career she had three London wins and four New York City titles. Though she never won a global title Keitany’s position on this list is cemented by virtue of her 2.17.01 in London in 2017, at the time a women’s only world record.

    Embed from Getty Images

    Mary Keitany’s Career Marathons


    • London Marathon – 1st – 2.19.19
    • New York City Marathon – 3rd – 2.23.38


    • London Marathon – 1st – 2.18.37
    • Olympic Games – 4th – 2.23.56


    • New York City Marathon – 1st – 2.25.07


    • London Marathon – 2nd – 2.23.40
    • New York City Marathon – 1st – 2.24.25


    • London Marathon – 9th – 2.28.30
    • New York City Marathon – 1st – 2.24.26


    • London Marathon – 1st – 2.17.01 (Women’s Only World Record)
    • New York City Marathon – 2nd – 2.27.54


    • London Marathon – 5th – 2.24.27
    • New York City Marathon – 1st – 2.22.48


    • London Marathon – 5th – 2.20.58
    • New York City Marathon – 2nd – 2.23.32

    2. Ingrid Kristiansen

    Look at the first half of Ingrid Kristiansen’s career and you probably wouldn’t have her in an all time top ten, let alone second. From 1984, however she slowly turned the screw. Nine wins in her next twelve marathons the Swede set the world record in London in 1984, a record that would stand for almost thirteen years.

    Unbeaten from 1986 to 1989 wins at Boston, Chicago, London and New York cemented her place as one of the greatest of all time.

    Ingrid Kristiansen’s Career Marathons


    • Stockholm Marathon – 1st – 2.38.45
    • New York City Marathon – 3rd – 2.34.25


    • Stockholm Marathon – 1st – 2.41.34
    • New York City Marathon – 2nd – 2.30.09


    • Osaka Marathon – 6th – 2.36.33
    • Stockholm Marathon – 1st – 2.34.26
    • European Champs – 3rd – 2.36.38
    • New York City Marathon – 5th – 2.33.36


    • Houston Marathon – 1st – 2.33.27


    • Houston Marathon – 1st – 2.27.51
    • London Marathon – 1st – 2.24.26
    • Los Angeles Olympics – 4th – 2.27.34
    • Chicago Marathon – 3rd – 2.30.21


    • London Marathon – 1st – 2.21.06 (World Record)
    • Chicago Marathon – 2nd – 2.23.05
    Embed from Getty Images


    • Boston Marathon – 1st – 2.24.55
    • Chicago Marathon – 1st – 2.27.08


    • London Marathon – 1st – 2.22.48


    • London Marathon – 1st – 2.25.41


    • Boston Marathon – 1st – 2.24.33
    • New York City Marathon – 1st – 2.25.30


    • Boston Marathon – 6th – 2.29.24

    1. Paula Radcliffe

    Paula Radcliffe’s dominance of the world of marathon running may have been briefer than some but at her best the Briton was untouchable. The World Champ from 2005, three times a winner of both London and New York she also boasted a Chicago win in 2002.

    Embed from Getty Images

    Her 2.15.25 from London in 2003 remains to this day the second fastest marathon ever run, and is more staggering given most of the rest of the all-time list come in the era of super-shoes. With three of the top eight times in history, despite her Olympic failures Radcliffe has to go down as near enough the greatest female marathon runner in history.

    Paula Radcliffe’s Career Marathons


    • London Marathon – 1st – 2.18.56
    • Chicago Marathon – 1st – 2.17.18 (World Record)


    • London Marathon – 1st – 2.15.25 (World Record – Mixed Race)


    • Olympic Games – DNF
    • New York City Marathon – 1st – 2.23.10


    • London Marathon – 1st – 2.17.42
    • World Championships – 1st – 2.20.57


    • New York City Marathon – 1st – 2.23.09


    • Beijing Olympics – 23rd – 2.32.38
    • New York City Marathon – 1st – 2.23.56

    Notable mentions

    Joan Benoit and Catherine Ndereba can both count themselves highly unfortunate not to make the list.

    Ndereba broke the world record in winning Chicago in 2001, and won Boston three times. Two World titles and a two Olympic silvers make a highly compelling case, only decided against due to the relative brevity of her dominance.

    Benoit announced herself on the scene by breaking the course record at Boston in 1979 (2.35.15). Her win in the 1983 edition was the fastest marathon ever run by a woman. Olympic gold followed in 1984 (2.24.52) . The American also won Chicago in 1985 (2.21.21), beating both Kristiansen and Mota. She can county herself highly unlucky not to make the list.

    Fancy someone else as the greatest female marathon runner of all-time? Let us know in the comments below.

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    New York City Marathon 2021 Preview

    The 2021 World Marathon Major Calendar will round out with the New York City Marathon, here’s our preview. The Sunday 7th November date means New York have managed to assemble possibly the finest field of the lot with plenty of Olympic interest and some exciting debuts. Here we preview the elite races.

    How fast is the New York City Marathon?

    New York, by marathon majors standards, is one of the relatively slower courses in large part due to some significant elevation in the first five miles:

    That said due to the calibre of the elite field over the years New York is the fourth fastest major for women and fifth fastest for the men. With previous winners including Mary Keitany (four times), Paula Radcliffe (3), Wilson Kipsang, Geoffrey Mutai (2) and Geoffrey Kamworor (2) winning New York is in my eyes the third most prestigious major behind London and Berlin.

    Average Winnings Times (Since 2007)BerlinBostonChicagoLondonNew YorkTokyo
    Men 02:03:4102:09:4502:06:5002:04:5902:07:5702:07:09

    Who is in the women’s elite field for the 2021 New York City Marathon?

    The elite women’s field for the 2021 New York City Marathon is as follows: (Only sub 2.30 runners and notable debuts included).

    AthleteCountryPersonal Best (where they set it)Recent Performances
    Peres Jepchirchir Kenya2.17.16 (Valencia, 2020)Tokyo Olympics – 1st (2.27.20), Valencia 2020 – 1st (2.17.16)
    Ruti AgaEthiopia2.18.34 (Berlin, 2018)Valencia 2020 – 7th (2.20.05), Tokyo 2020 – DNF
    Helalia JohanesNamibia2.19.52 (Valencia, 2020)Tokyo Olympics – 11th (2.31.22), Valencia 2020 – 3rd (2.19.52)
    Ababel YeshanehEthiopia2.20.51 (Chicago, 2019)Ethiopian 10,000m Olympic Trials – DNF, Delhi Half 2020 – 3rd (65.21), World Half – 5th (65:41)
    Nancy KipropKenya2.22.12 (Vienna, 2019)Nagoya 2020 – DNF, Santa Pola Half 2020 – 2nd (69:32)
    Desiree LindenUSA2.22.28 (Boston, 2011)Brooks 50k 2021 – 1st (2.59.54), US Olympic Trials 2020 – 4th (2.29.03)
    Emily Sisson USA2.23.08 (London, 2019)Olympic Games 10,000m – 10th (31.09)
    Kellyn TaylorUSA2.24.29 (Duluth, 2019)Marathon Project 2020 – 3rd (2.25.22) US Olympic Trials 2020 – 8th (2.29.55) 
    Sally KipyegoUSA2.25.10 (Berlin, 2019)Tokyo Olympics – 17th (2.32.53), Eldoret 2021 – 26th (2.40.22)
    Molly Seidel USA2.25.13 (London, 2020)Tokyo Olympics – 3rd (2.27.46), London 2020 – 6th (2.25.13)
    Laura ThweattUSA2.25.38 (London, 2017)USA 15k Champs 2021 – 8th (50.31), US Olympic Trials 2020 – 5th (2.29.08)
    Andrea Ramirez LimonMexico2.26.34 (Marathon Project, 2020)Tokyo Olympics – DNF, Marathon Project 2020 – 6th (2.26.34)
    Haruka YamaguchiJapan2.26.35 (Osaka, 2020)Nagoya 2021 – 24th (2.37.04), Osaka 2021 – 14th (2.39.26)
    Aliphine TuliamukUSA2.26.50 (Rotterdam, 2019)Tokyo Olympics – DNF, US Olympic Trials 2020 – 1st (2.27.23)
    Stephanie BruceUSA2.27.47 (Chicago, 2019)Valley Half 2021 – 1st (69.55), US Olympic Trials – 6th (2.29.11)
    Lanni MarchantCanada2.28.00 (Toronto, 2013)Las Vegas Half 2021 – 6th (73:19)
    Krista DucheneCanada2.28.32 (Toronto, 2013)Chilly Half 2021 – 1st (76:20)
    Hannah Lindholm Sweden 2.28.59 (Sevilla, 2020)Berlin 2021 – 12th (2.33.23), S7 2021 – 3rd (2.29.36)
    Roberta GronerUSA2.29.09 (Rotterdam, 2019)USA 15k Champs 2021 – 18th (51.56)
    Samantha RoeckerUSA2.29.59 (Marathon Project, 2020)Marathon Project 2020 – 12th (2.29.59)
    Viola CheptooKenyaDebutHerzongenaurach Half 2021 – 6th (69.13), New York 10k – 2nd (31.39)

    Who is in the men’s elite field for the 2021 New York City Marathon?

    The elite men’s field for the 2021 New York City Marathon is as follows: (only sub 2.12 runners and notable debuts included)

    AthleteCountryPersonal Best (where they set it)Recent Performances
    Kenenisa BekeleEthiopia2.01.41 (Berlin, 2019)Berlin 2021 – 3rd (2.06.47)
    Abdi NageeyeNetherlands2.06.17 (Rotterdam, 2019)Tokyo Olympics – 2nd (2.09.58), Valencia 2021 – 15th (2.07.09)
    Ghirmay GhebreslassieEritrea2.07.11 (Siena, 2021)Siena 2021 – 10th (2.07.11)
    Eyob FanielItaly2.07.19 (Sevilla, 2020)Tokyo Olympics – 20th (2.15.11), Tuscany Half 2021 – 3rd (60.07)
    Albert KorirKenya2.08.03 (Ottawa, 2019)Eldoret 2021 – 10th (2.13.53) New York 2019 – 2nd (2.08.36)
    Callum HawkinsGreat Britain2.08.14 (London, 2019)Tokyo Olympics – DNF, Marugame Half 2020 – 3rd (60.01)
    Girma Bekele GebreEthiopia2.08.38 (New York, 2019)Herzogenaurach Half 2021 – 11th (65.59), New York 2019 – 3rd (2.08.38)
    Noah DroddyUSA2.09.09 (Marathon Project, 2020)Cherry Blossom 10 Mile – 13th (47.47)Marathon Project 2020 – 2nd (2.09.09)
    Mohamed El AarabyMorocco2.09.16 (Chicago, 2018)Tokyo Olympics – 11th (2.12.22), Siena 2021 – 24th (2.10.06)
    Jared WardUSA2.09.25 (Boston, 2019)USA 20k 2021 – 16th (61.21), London 2020 – 17th (2.12.38)
    Benjamin PreisnerCanada2.10.17 (Marathon Project, 2020)Tokyo Olympics – 46th (2.19.27), Marathon Project 2020 – 8th (2.10.17)
    Akira TomiyasuJapan2.10.29 (Lake Biwa, 2021)Lake Biwa 2021 – 46th (2.10.29)
    Jose Luis Santana MarinMexico2.10.54 (Lima, 2019)Tokyo Olympics – 56th (2.21.32) S7 Half 2021 – 2nd (62.57)
    Ryan Vail USA2.10.57 (London, 2014)US Olympic Trials 2020 -DNF
    Thijs NijhuisDenmark2.10.57 (Sevilla 2020)Tokyo Olympics – 70th (2.26.59), Enschede 2021 – DNF
    Nathan MartinUSA2.11.05 (Marathon Project, 2020)Marathon Project 2020 – 9th (2.11.05)
    Matt LlanoUSA2.11.14 (Berlin, 2019)Atlanta Half 2021 – 3rd (64.19), US Olympic Trials 2020 – 38th (2.17.22)
    Patricio Castillo Mexico2.11.24 (Valencia, 2020)Trial of Miles Half – 1st (62.15), Valencia 2020 – 39th (2.11.24)
    Elkanah KibetUSA2.11.31 (Chicago, 2015)USA 10 Mile 2021 – 9th (47:39)
    Temesgen HabtemariamEthiopia2.11.42 (Cologne, 2013)Bermuda Half 2021 – 3rd (70:03)
    Kibiwott KandieKenyaDebutIstanbul Half 2021 – 1st (59:35), Valencia Half – 1st (57.32)
    Teshome MekonenEthiopiaDebutNYRR 10k 2020 – 1st (29.23)
    Ben True USADebutUSA 20k 2021 – 1st (59:53)

    Who are the favourites for the New York City Marathon women’s race?

    In my eyes there is a pretty nailed on favourite when it comes to the women’s race, with the New York Road Runners having pulled off a huge coup to get her on the start line.

    Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir is one of the greatest half marathon runners in history. Twice a World Champion over the distance (2016, 2020), she is also the world record holder for a women’s only race (65:16). With her win in Valencia to move herself to fifth (2.17.16) on the all-time marathon list and her dominating win over Brigid Kosgei in Tokyo she may well become one of the finest marathon runners in history too. A win in New York would add to that cause. If she has recovered from Tokyo and has a good day, she should win. For a run down on her fascinating emergence to the top of distance running, read our feature here.

    Embed from Getty Images

    Jepchirchir’s main challengers

    Helalia Johanes is a bronze medalist from Doha and was third behind Jepchirchir in Valencia. The Namibian was eleventh in Tokyo and will be towing the start line for her 31st marathon. Expect a consistent performance from the 41-year-old.

    Ruti Aga‘s best was a second place in Berlin in 2018 and she won Tokyo in 2019. That said recent outings have been less impressive for the Ethiopian with her best result since then a seventh place finish in Valencia (2.20.05). Aga is still young (27) and could find herself in the mix once more.

    Aga’s compatriot Ababel Yeshnaneh is yet to get get the best out of herself over the marathon distance but comes with huge pedigree over the half. In 2020 she broke the world record in winning the RAK half (64.31) and was third and fifth in Delhi and the World Half that year respectively. Her most recent outing was a DNF in Hengelo at the Ethiopian 10,000m Olympic trials.

    This will be Yeshnaheh’s fourth marathon after winning in Abu Dhabi (course was short but 2.20.16 in 2018), sixth in Tokyo in 2019 (2.24.02) and second in Chicago later that year (2.20.51). If she gets it together she could yet be Jepchirchir’s greatest challenge.

    The US assault

    For me the US challenge will centre itself around three athletes. Emily Sisson is stepping up after competing the Olympic 10,000m where she finished 10th. She went into that race with hopes of a much higher finish and has already showed herself adept at the marathon distance. Sisson was sixth in London in 2019 on debut (2.23.08) and may benefit from not having ran a brutal Olympic marathon.

    Molly Seidel‘s bronze in Tokyo was a phenomenal achievement in a world class field. To run 2.27.46 in such conditions suggests her 2.25 best is vulnerable but the main question will be how she has managed the post Olympic comedown. Her most recent outing was a seventh place finish at the Great North Run (71.55). If she is over Tokyo she may find herself in the mix or at least in contention for a big personal best. As a reminder this is only her fourth marathon, which makes her Olympic bronze all the more impressive.

    The final genuine challenge I see coming from Desiree Linden. The world 50k record holder showed some form in breaking three hours for the distance which suggests an improvement on the 2.29.03 she ran in the Olympic trials in Feb 2020. If conditions are difficult she will hope for a repeat of her Boston triumph from 2018. This would be even more impressive given she is racing there on 11th October and then aiming to repeat in New York.

    The outsiders

    Nancy Kiprop was fourth in the last edition of New York (2019) when she ran 2.26.21. That year she also won Vienna (2.22.12). Her most recent outing was a DNF in Nagoya in 2020.

    Kellyn Taylor of the USA impressed in the Marathon Project (2.25.22) and at the Grandma’s marathon in 2019 (2.24.29). Her experience could see her challenge for top American honours.

    Who are the favourites for the New York City Marathon men’s race?

    For my money there are three standouts all with different merits.

    Heading up the field a certain Kenenisa Bekele only seven weeks after his third place in Berlin (2.06.47). Bekele suffered after a suicidal early pace from the head of the field but showed decent shape to finish third. This will be his best bet of a marathon major since his 2019 Berlin triumph. As a reminder Bekele’s marathon career has gone as follows:

    • 2014 – Paris 1st (2.05.04) Chicago 4th (2.05.51)
    • 2015 – Dubai DNF
    • 2016 – London 3rd (2.06.36) Berlin 1st (2.03.03)
    • 2017 – Dubai DNF, London 2nd (2.05.57) Berlin DNF
    • 2018 – London 6th (2.08.53)
    • 2019 – Berlin 1st (2.01.41)
    • 2020 – London DNS
    • 2021 – Berlin 3rd (2.06.47)
    Embed from Getty Images

    Abdi Nageeye heads to New York on the back of Olympic silver. How he figures in New York could depend on what type of race it is but if the pace dips he has a strong chance as a championship performer.

    The most exciting of the lot, however, is the debut of World Half Marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie. The Kenyan’s sole blip in recent years is a second place to Jacob Kiplimo in the World Half but he is otherwise faultless. If he can carry anywhere near his half-marathon form (57.32) to the full distance he is the man to beat.

    The outsiders

    Ghimray Ghebreslassie is a World Marathon champ from 2015 as well as the New York winner in 2016. Despite running a personal best in Siena this year that seems a bit of a red herring. It was his first major attempt in the new shoes. He DNF’d in his two marathon appearances in 2018, was out the whole of 2019 and was only tenth in Siena. But if he has shaken off those injury troubles and Siena acts as a bit of a rust-buster then he may well challenge.

    Albert Korir‘s sole appearance since 2019 was in the Eldoret City Marathon (10th, 2.13.53) in a race for into which it’s hard to read too much . The Kenyan won in Ottawa and Houston in 2019 and was second to Kamworor in New York (2.08.36). He could figure once more.

    A debut for Ben True

    It will be interesting to see how Ben True’s goes in his marathon debut. The Diamond League winner in New York in 2015 (over 5000m) impressed on his most recent outing in the USA 20k champs, albeit in a less than world class time (59:53).

    Our predictions

    The women’s race:

    1. Peres Jepchirchir
    2. Emily Sisson
    3. Ababel Yesnaneh

    The men’s race:

    1. Kibiwott Kandie
    2. Kenenisa Bekele
    3. Abdi Nageeye

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    Featured image “New York Marathon 2013” by jaroslavd is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0