The world could never have asked for a better field than the one headed for the women’s London Marathon on April 23 this year.
The sumptuous heavily loaded field has Olympic champion, World champion and world record holder besides 10 athletes who have run under two hours and 18 minutes.
World champion Ethiopia’s Yalemzef Yehualaw, who has a personal best two hours, 17 minutes and 23 seconds could be topping the entry but she faces a formidable challenge from the world record holder Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04) and Olympic champion Peres Jepchichir (2:17:16) from Kenya.
And things get interesting with Yehualaw leading a strong Ethiopian legion that has the second fastest person in the field, the 2022 Berlin marathon champion Tigist Assefa, 2016 Rio Olympics 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana (2:17:20) and 1,500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba (2:18:05).
Ayana and Dibaba will be making their second appearance in marathon.
Ayana glided to victory in Amsterdam on October 16, last year on her debut over the distance, winning in 2:17:20, ninth fastest time ever over the distance as Dibaba settled second in the same race in 2:18:05, making her the 23rd fastest woman.
Sample this…the reigning Olympic 10,000 metres and 5,000m champion Sifan Hassan from the Netherland will make her marathon debut.
“This is the greatest field ever assembled for a women’s distance race,” say Hugh Brasher, the 2023 London marathon race director.
Jepchirchir, who makes a comeback from a hip injury that saw her miss the World Championships in July last year, returns to London, seeking to extend her unbeaten run, that has seen her win two major marathons since taking the 2020 Olympic title in 2021, the 2021 New York City and 2022 Boston.
Jepchirchir, who holds a personal best 2:17:16 from 2020 Valencia, is yet to lose a marathon since making her debut at Safaricom Kisumu Marathon where she finished third in 2:47:33 in 2013.
She was a pacesetter during the 2015 London Marathon.
Jepchirchir edged out Kosgei to victory at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where the world record holder settled for silver.
Kosgei, who is making a return for the first time since winning Tokyo Marathon on March 22 last year was last in London in 2021 where she finished fourth after winning in 2019 (2:18:20) and 2020 (2:18:58) respectively.
However, it’s on her third appearance in Chicago on October 13, 2019 where Kosgei shattered the women’s marathon world record with a new time of 2:14:04, making her the first woman to run under 2 hours, 15 minutes.
Her appearance in London will be Kosgei’s 16thcareer marathon race.
World marathon silver medallist Judith Jeptum Korir makes her return to London after finishing fourth last year.
2023 London Marathon women’s elite entry list
Yalemzerf Yehualaw (ETH, personal best 2:17:23)
Brigid Kosgei (KEN, 2:14:04 WR/NR)
Tigist Assefa (ETH, 2:15:37)
Peres Jepchirchir (KEN, 2:17:16)
Almaz Ayana (ETH, 2:17:20)
Genzebe Dibaba (ETH, 2:18:05)
Sutume Asefa Kebede (2:18:12)
Judith Jeptum Korir (KEN, 2:18:20)
Emily Sisson (USA, 2:18:29 NR)
Alemu Megertu (ETH, 2:18:32)
Keira D’Amato (USA, 2:19:12)
Sinead Diver (AUS, 2:21:34 NR)
Jess Piasecki (GBR, 2:22:27)
Natasha Wodak (CAN, 2:23:12 NR)
Charlotte Purdue (GBR, 2:23:26)
Susanna Sullivan (USA, 2:25:14)
Ellie Pashley (AUS, 2:26:21)
Stephanie Davis (GBR, 2:27:16)
Maor Tiyouri (ISR, 2:29:04)
Rosie Edwards (GBR, 2:31:56)
Samantha Harrison (GBR, 2:32:22)
Eilish McColgan (GBR, debut)
Sifan Hassan (NED, debut)
Girmawit Gebrzihair (ETH, debut)
Dominique Scott (RSA, debut)