Seifu Tura from Ethiopia and Judith Jeptum from Kenya lead the start lists at the 47th edition of the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon on Sunday 3 April. The men’s starting list features twelve athletes with a sub-2:07 PB. Six of them broke the 2:05 barrier. The course record set by Elisha Rotich with 2:04:21 in 2021 could be under threat.
Tura made a major breakthrough when he clocked 2:04.44 at the Dubai Marathon in 2018. Later that year the 24-year-old Ethiopian runner went on to win two marathons in Milan in 2:09:04 and Shanghai in 2:09:18. Last year Tura finished fourth in a lifetime best of 2:04:29 in Milan and won in Chicago in 2:06:12. This year Tura improved his PB to 58:36 at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon.
The fastest runner in the field is Asefa Mengstu, who clocked 2:04:06 in Dubai in 2018. Mengstu also finished seventh at the London Marathon in 2017 in 2:10:04 and clocked 59:54 in New Dehli later that year.
Hillary Kipsambu and Abeyneh Degu from Ethiopia will be looking to improve from their third and fifth placing achieved respectively at last year’s edition of the Paris Marathon. Kipsambu, who turned 37 last February, set his lifetime best of 2:04:44 in the French capital. Degu also broke the 2:05 barrier in last year’s edition with 2:04:53.
The line-up also features Mekuant Ayenew, who won the Seville Marathon in 2:04:46 in 2020, and Deso Gelmisa, who finished runner-up in Valencia in 2:04:53 in 2020, and Olika Adugna, who improved his PB to 2:06:15 in Dubai in 2020 and clocked 2:07:36 in Valencia in 2021.
Julien Wanders from Switzerland, who improved the European half-marathon record to 59:13 in Ras Al Khaimah and finished eighth at the World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia 2018, will make his marathon debut in the French capital.
The other European runners in the field are Morhad Amdouni, who won the gold medal in the 10000m at the European Championships in Berlin 2018, and 40-year-old Italian runner Yassine El Fathaoui, who took part in the marathon at the Olympic Games in Sapporo and improved his PB to 1:01:44 at the Rome Ostia Half Marathon. Amdouni, who finished eighth at the 2020 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, will aim at breaking the French record of 2:06:36.
Another runner to watch is Jake Robertson from New Zealand, who set his PBs of 2:08:26 in Otsu in the marathon and 59:58 at the Great North Run in South Shields in the half marathon in 2018.
Kenya’s Judith Jeptum won the women’s marathon in Abu Dhabi in 2:22:30 last November and set her half marathon PB of 1:05:28 in Ras Al Khaimah last February.
Namibia’s Helalia Johannes holds the fastest time in the field with her PB of 2:19:52 set in Valencia in 2020. The 41-year-old runner won the world bronze medal in Doha in 2019, the Commonwealth Games gold medal in Gold Coast in 2018 and finished fifth at the New York Marathon in 2021.
Jeptum and Johannes will target the course record held by Purity Rionoripo with 2:20:55 since 2017.
The other sub-2:25 specialists in the field are Ethiopian runners Besu Sado from Ethiopia, who clocked 2:21:03 in Amsterdam in 2019, and Tigist Abeychew (PB 2:22:45 in Dubai in 2020), and Beyenu Degefa (third in Valencia with her PB of 2:23:04 in 2021).