© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated

The 2022 champion Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw will race to defend her title on Sunday, April 23, with world record holder Brigid Kosgei and Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya toeing the line too. Jepchirchir and Kosgei went 1-2 at the Tokyo Olympics, respectively. Yehualaw is just 23.

Former Ethiopian, now Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan has announced her debut. She is the defending Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion. Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, the world record holder in the 1500m is racing, as is 2016 Rio Olympic 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana.

Berlin Marathon champion Tigist Assefa is also racing. Anyone can win it.

Kosgei holds the world record at 2:14:04 from Chicago 2019. Yehaulaw ran Hamburg one year ago in the time of 2:17:23. Less than four months ago, Dibaba ran the Amsterdam Marathon in the time of 2:18:05. Jepchirchir not only won the Tokyo Olympic Marathon over the world record holder, she did so in the heat. As one of the best half-marathon runners all time, she is tough and owns a marathon best of 2:17:16 from Valencia 2020.

“Anything you can do, I can do better,” may be a defiant phrase to bolster women’s place in the job markets, education, sports, and arts, but Kosgei is pretty much to women’s running what Eliud Kipchoge is to men’s. They both hold the world record. She has won nine marathons during her career. And in regards to the 9-10 per cent difference between men and women, her marathon time is less than 10 per cent off Kipchoge’s 2:01:09 at 2:14:04.

While Kipchoge is a back-to-back Olympic gold medallist, Kosgei won silver in Tokyo (Sapporo), but is more than two Olympiads younger (nine years four months). She returned to Tokyo in March 2022 to win in the time of 2:16:02 — the sixth-fastest performance in history. Kipkosgei is a six-time World Marathon Majors winner.

Intriguiging debutants

Intriguing is Great Britain’s Eilish McColgan, the Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion, who will also be making her marathon debut. Anything can and often happens in a debut marathon. While Hassan has shown great range and a very competitive attitude, patience in the marathon sometimes is the key. McColgan benefits from the coaching by her mother Liz McColgan-Nutall, a champion marathon runner herself. The battle of the debutants will be an interesting race within a race.

“This is quite simply the greatest women’s field ever assembled for a marathon,” said race director Hugh Brasher.

In the men’s race, four of the five fastest men in history will be competing. Overall, it should have the deepest top-10 in the history of marathon running.

The Canadian, American, and Australian record holders are all in the mix too with Emily Sisson from the US having run 2:18:29, she also holds the US half-marathon record at 66:52. Sinead Diver, the Irish-born Australian athlete ran a 2:21:34 at age 45 in Valencia in December.

Natasha Wodak, the Canadian record holder from Berlin 2022 at 2:23:12 will race. She is also the holder of the national 8K best at 25:28, and a former 10,000m and half-marathon Canadian record holder.

“It’s going to be a race the whole world will be anticipating and I can’t wait to see what happens on Sunday 23 April. We’ve had such a rich pedigree of incredible women’s results here in London. We have had world records and unforgettable performances from the likes of Grete Weitz, Ingrid Kristiansen, Paula Radcliffe, and Mary Keitany. I am sure this amazing 2023 women’s field will provide another extraordinary chapter in the London Marathon’s rich and proud history of stunning races.”

Reigning champion Yehualaw said, “My victory at last year’s TCS London Marathon was a day I will never forget. I am very much looking forward to returning to London and being part of this amazing field.”

Brasher and company also believe 2023 will be an unforgettable day with eleven women having run faster than 2:20.

Elite women at the 2023 TCS London Marathon

  • Yalemzerf Yehualaw (ETH, personal best 2:17:23)
  • Brigid Kosgei (KEN, 2:14:04 WR)
  • 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)