© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated

The 2023 TCS London Marathon women’s race may end up being one for the ages, as the deep field slated to run looks impressive.

As earlier reported, the 2022 defending champion Yalemzerf Yehualaw of Ethiopia will attempt to defend her title on Sunday, April 23, with world record holder Brigid Kosgei and Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir both 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.

Dibaba debuted at the 2022 Amsterdam Marathon clocking an impressive 2:18:05 and finishing second behind Ayana who ran the seventh-fastest time in that race at 2:17:20, just five months ago. Meanwhile Yehualaw ran the Hamburg Marathon in 2022 in the time of 2:17:23.

Fast debuts

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.

On Saturday, McColgan ran a new British 10,000m record in Los Angeles at the Sound Running 10 meet clocking 30:00:86 to better Paula Radcliffe’s time of 30:01.09 from Munich in 2002.

McColgan told Athletics Illustrated, “[The] London Marathon is the main aim this year. To be honest, with it being my first one — I’d like to just get through it, enjoy it and be competitive amongst the top British and American athletes. Of course, I’d love to be under 2.23 but we will see how training progresses! 

“Not setting any major goals but also not limiting my potential either. I’ll give it everything I’ve got!”

Based on her 66:26 half marathon best from Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates from one year ago — the national record — and her new 10,000m pb, McColgan appears capable of much faster, perhaps 2:19 or 2:20. Cautiously competitive is likley a smart way to start a marathon career.

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)