The women’s race features the strongest-ever line-up in the history of the London Marathon. Defending champion and world 10 km record holder Yalemzerf Yehualaw, world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei, reigning Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir, reigning Olympic 5000m and 10000m champion Sifan Hassan, Ethiopian track stars Genzebe Dibaba and Almaz Ayana will be in the spotlight at this year’s edition.
Yehualaw won the Hamburg Marathon in her PB of 2:17:23 on her debut over the 42.195 km distance in 2022 and came close to her record when she won the London Marathon in 2:17:26. The Ethiopian runner holds the world 10 km record with 29:14 in Castellon and set the second fastest time in history over the half marathon distance with her lifetime best of 1:03:51 in Valencia.
Kosgei will be making her fourth appearance at the London Marathon. Kosgei won back-to-back titles in the British capital in 2019 in 2:18:20 and 2020 in 2:18:58 and broke Paula Radcliffe’s world record with 2:14:04 in Chicago in 2019.
Fellow Kenyan Jepchirchir will run for the first time in her career in London. The former world half marathon record holder has remained unbeaten in all of her five marathon races. This winning streak includes Saitama in 2:23:50, Valencia in her PB of 2:17:16, the Olympic Games in Sapporo 2021 in 2:27:20, the New York Marathon in 2:22:39 and the 2022 Boston Marathon in 2:22:01.
Sifan Hassan will run her debut marathon after a very successful track career in which she won two gold medals in the 5000m and in the 10000m and the bronze medal in the 1500m at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 and two world gold medals in the 1500m and 10000m at the World Championships in Doha 2019. The Dutch athlete of Ethiopian origin has set European records over all distances at 1500m, 3000m, 5000m, 10000m and half marathon. She clocked 1:05:15 in the half marathon in Copenhagen in 2018 and ran two sub-1:06 half marathon races in 2019 clocking 1:05:45 in Berlin and 1:05:53 in Valencia. Hassan will run her first road race since October 2019. Hassan will turn her attention to the track after London, including the World Championships in Budapest.
Hassan has spent four months training at altitude in Ethiopia alongside her coach Tim Rowberry. She aims to qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris.
Ayana and Dibaba made their marathon debut in Amsterdam. Ayana, who won the 2016 Olympic gold in the 10000 metres setting the world record with 29:17.45, won the Amsterdam Marathon last October in 2:17.20. Ayana warmed up for the London Marathon with a win at the Lisbon Half Marathon in 1:05:30.
Dibaba, who won the world 1500m title in Beijing 2015 and currently holds the world record over this distance with 3:50.07, finished runner-up to Ayana in the Dutch marathon in 2:18:05. Dibaba ran the Valencia Half Marathon in 1:05:46 in her only race in 2023.
The other African stars in the field are 21-year-old Ethiopian runner Tadu Teshome, who finished fourth in Valencia in 2:17:36, Sutume Kebede, second in Seoul in 2:18:12, Kenya’s Judith Korir, winner at the Paris Marathon in her PB of 2:18:20, silver medallist at the World Championships in Eugene behind Gotytom Gebreslase and fourth placer at the London Marathon in 2022, Ethiopia’s Alemu Megertu, winner at the Seville Marathon in 2:18:51 and third in London in her PB of 2:18:32, Sheila Chepkirui, who finished third in Valencia on her debut over the marathon distance in 2:17:29,
Eilish McColgan will be making her marathon debut in front of her home fans. McColgan recently broke Paula Radcliffe’s British record in the 10000m with 30:00.08 in San Juan Capistrano and won the Berlin Half Marathon breaking her own British record with 1:05:43. This performance takes McColgan to fourth in the European half marathon list behind Sifan Hassan (1:05:15), Mejat Kejeta (1:05:18) and Konstanze Klosterhalfen (1:05:41). Last year McColgan won the gold medal in the 10000m and silver in the 5000m at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and silver in the 10000m and bronze in the 5000m at the European Championships in Munich in 2022. Her mother Liz McColgan won the London Marathon in 1996 in 2:27:54.
The other top British runner in the field is Sam Harrison, who ran 1:07:17 in the Berlin Half Marathon and set her marathon PB of 2:32:22 in London in 2021.
The line-up also features Natasha Wodak, who set the Canadian record of 2:23:12 in Berlin in 2022, Susanna Sullivan, sixth placer in Chicago in 2:25:14 last year, Sofyia Yaremchuk, who won the Venice Marathon in 2021 in 2:29:12 and set her PB of 2:25:36 in Frankfurt, Ellie Pashley from Australia, who finished fifth at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and clocked her PB of 2:26:31 in Nagoya in 2019, and US based British runner Alice Wright, who broke the 2:30 barrier in Houston last year with her PB of 2:29:08 in 2022 and clocked 2:29:50 in Osaka this year.