The Trinidad Alfonso Marathon Valencia will live to its reputation as a very fast race with impressive fields in both the men’s and women’s races on Sunday 6 December. The organizers of the Valencia Marathon have attracted the best marathon ever in the history of this event featuring 17 women with sub 2:24 times and 21 men with sub 2:07 PBs.
The definitive starting list includes a total of 218 elite runners, who will line-up in the Spanish “Ciudad del Running” (City of Running) to pursue very fast times.
A top-10 finish (regardless of time) represents an Olympic qualifying performance in accordance with the regulations for World Athletics Platinum Road Races.
The list of female starters will feature reigning world half marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, former New York Marathon winner Joyciline Jepkosgei, world half marathon silver medallist Melat Kejeta from Germany and five sub-2:20 Ethiopian runners Ruti Aga (PB 2:18:34), Birhane Dibaba (PB 2:18:35), Degitu Azimeraw (2:19:26), Zeineba Yimer (2:19:28) and Tigist Girma (2:19:52).
Jepchirchir improved the women’s only half marathon world record twice this year clocking 1:05:34 in Prague and 1:05:16 in Gdynia, where she won her second world half marathon gold medal. The Kenyan 27-year-old athlete ran the only marathon race outside Kenya in 2:23:50 in Saitama in 2019.
Jepchirchir will renew her battle against Melat Kejeta, a German runner of Ethiopian origin, who won the world half marathon silver medal last October setting the European record with 1:05:18.
Jepkosgei won the 2019 New York marathon in her debut over the distance with an impressive 2:22:38 time missing the course record by just seven seconds and finished sixth at the 2020 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia last October.
Ruti Aga has the fastest PB in the field with 2:18:34 set in Berlin in 2018 and won the Tokyo Marathon in 2019 in 2:20:34.
Birhane Dibaba won two editions of the Tokyo marathon and ran two sub-2:19 times in her last two marathon races. She finished third in Valencia 2019 in 2.18:46 and second in Tokyo 2020 in 2:18:35.
Degitu Azimeraw made an impressive marathon debut at the Amsterdam Marathon in 2019 setting a course record with 2:19:26.
The other women to watch are Ethiopia’s Tigist Girma, who finished second in Amsterdam 2019 in 2:19:52 and fifth in Tokyo 2020 in 2:21:56, Ethiopia’s Meskerem Assefa (PB 2:20:36 in Frankfurt in 2018), Kenya’s Purity Rionoripo (seventh in the Valencia Marathon in 2:20:39 in 2019), US Jordan Hasay (third in Chicago in 2:20:57 and in Boston in 2:23:00 in 2017), Ethiopia’s Helen Tola (fourth in Berlin 2019 in 2:21:01), Namibia’s Helalia Johannes (world bronze medallist in Doha 2019), Ethiopia’s Abeba Gebremeskel (eighth in Valencia in her PB of 2:22:39), marathon debutant Fancy Chemutai (winner at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in 2018 in 1:04:52) and Italian veteran runner Valeria Straneo (world marathon silver medal in Moscow 2013 and European silver medal in Zurich 2014).
The men’s line-up is led by Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese, the third fastest runner in history with his 2:02:48 PB set in 2019, when he finished second behind Kenenisa Bekele. Legese won the Tokyo marathon in 2019 with 2:04:48 and in 2020 in 2:04:15 in one of the deepest races of all time where 17 runners broke the 2:08 barrier.
Legese will take on his compatriot Kilde Atanaw, who won last year’s edition of the Valencia Marathon with 2:03:51 beating an impressive field which included four athletes under the 2:05 barrier.
The field also features six more runners with a sub-2:05 time: Ethiopia’s Leul Gebrselassie (first in Valencia in 2:04:02 and second in Dubai in 2:04:31 in 2018), Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono (winner in five of last six marathon races including two back-to-back victories in Amsterdam in 2017 and 2018 and winner in Boston and Chicago in 2019), Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa (first in New York 2018 in 2:05:59 and second in Boston in 2:07:59 in 2019, two seconds behind Cherono, and world champion in Doha 2019 in 2:10:40), Turkey’s Kaan Kigen Ozbilen, who set the European record in Valencia last year with 2:04:16, Ethiopia’s Hayle Lemi (PB 2:04:33 in Dubai in 2016), Kenya’s Reuben Kiprop (PB 2:04:40 in Abu Dhabi in 2019) and Ethiopia’s Abebe Negewo (fourth in Valencia 2019 in 2:04:51).
The other runners to watch are Evans Chebet (PB 2:05:00 Buenos Aires 2019), Phileomon Rono (PB 2:05:00 Toronto), two-time world champion Abel Kirui (PB 2:05:04 in Rotterdam 2009), Ethiopia’s Betesfa Getahun (fourth in Amsterdam 2019 in 2:05:28) and 2019 world bronze medallist Amos Kipruto (PB 2:05:43 in Amsterdam 2017).
Kiplimo and Gidey set to highlight half Marathon races
The men’s half marathon race features Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo and Kenya’s Rhonex Kiplimo. Kiplimo won the world half marathon gold medal in Gdynia setting his PB with 58:49 and clocked 7:26.64 in the 3000m in Rome and 12:48.63 in the 5000m in Ostrava. Kipruto, who will make his debut over the half marathon, set the world record in the 10 km on the roads in Valencia last January in 26:24 and beat Kiplimo in the 10000m at the World Under 20 Championships in Tampere 2018.
The field also features Bedan Karoki and Kibiwott Kandie, who won the world half marathon silver medal respectively in 2016 and 2020. Kandie ran under the 59 minutes barrier this year.
Letesenbet Gidey will return to Valencia, where she set the 5000 metres world record with 14:06.62 on 7 October. The 22-year-old Ethiopian runner will make her half marathon debut against 1500m world record holder and former world champion Genzebe Dibaba, who will run her first race over this distance. Senbere Teferi, world silver medallist in the 5000m and cross country in 2015, holds the fastest time among the entrants with her 1:05:32 set in Valencia in 2019 and clocked 2:24.11 in the Dubai Marathon in 2018. The Kenyan challenge is led by Sheila Chepkirui, who broke the 30 minutes barrier in the 10 km on the road with 29:46 in Valencia last January.
Live stream and TV coverage:
The event will be live streamed on the internet and broadcast live on several TV channels accross the world. For more detals see Valencia Marathon live stream page here.