JOHANNESBURG – A star-studded African line-up on Monday was confirmed for the Valencia Marathon on December 6.
The marathon has attracted some of the best athletes in the world, including the recently-crowned world half marathon Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, world half marathon silver medallist Melat Kejeta of Germany, former world half marathon record-holder Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN), 2019 Tokyo Marathon champion Ruti Aga, the fastest in the field with a PB of 2:18:34, and fellow Ethiopian Birhane Dibaba.
The men’s marathon line-up is led by Birhanu Legese (ETH), the third-fastest man in history, 2019 Valencia winner and course record-holder Kinde Atanaw (ETH), world champion Lelisa Desisa (ETH), 2018 Valencia champion Leul Gebreselasie (2h04:02) (ETH), 2019 Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono (KEN) and debutant Jemal Yimer (ETH).
In total, there are 17 women in the field with sub-2:24 Personal Bests (PBs) and 21 men with sub-2:07 PBs.
The half marathon fields are just as loaded. The men’s race features a clash between world half marathon champion Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) and world 10,000m bronze medallist Rhonex Kipruto (KEN), who set a world record for 10km on the roads of Valencia earlier this year. The 21-year-old will be making his half marathon debut.
World half marathon silver medallist Kibiwott Kandie (KEN) and two-time world silver medallist Bedan Karoki (KEN) are also in the lineup.
Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, who set a stunning world record over 5000m earlier this year, will be making her half marathon debut in Valencia, as will compatriot Genzebe Dibaba, the world record-holder for 1500m.
Fellow Ethiopian Senbere Teferi, the 2015 world silver medallist at 5000m and cross-country, is the fastest in the field with a PB of 1:05:32. Kenya’s Sheila Chepkirui, one of the few women to break 30 minutes for 10km on the roads, is also entered.
African News Agency (ANA)