Kenya’s Evans Kiplagat will lead a strong team at the 37th edition of the Valencia Marathon that will be held on Sunday (19) in Valencia, Spain.
Seven men in the field have previously run quicker than 2:06:13 on at least one occasion.
Chebet, holder of a career best of 2:05:31 in Berlin last year, seems to be the most in-form runner. The 29-year-old’s fastest time this year is a 2:06:42 clocking from February’s Tokyo Marathon; more recently, he finished runner-up at the Tilburg 10 miles in September in 45:06.
Compatriot Victor Kipchirchir will defend his title, having won last year in a PB of 2:07:39. His only appearance this season is a 2:08:52 seventh-place finish in Seoul back in March.
Emmanuel Mutai, Sammy Kitwara and Bernard Koech are the fastest entrants for the race. Mutai isn’t in quite the same form that carried him to a PB of 2:03:13, the fourth-fastest performance in history, in Berlin in 2014, but the 33-year-old should improve on his outings earlier this year – a 2:19:23 effort in Boston and a 1:03:06 half marathon run in Porto – to be in the hunt for the victory on Sunday.
Kitwara, who boasts a career best of 2:04:48 set in Chicago three years ago, will be eager to finish his first marathon this year after failing to finish in Boston, Berlin and Amsterdam. Koech is another sub-2:05 performer at his best, but he had to settle for 48:14 in Tilburg, more than three minutes behind Chebet.
Another Kenyans on show include Mathew Kisorio, fresh from a 1:01:15 half marathon effort in Valencia last month, Eric Ndiema, a 2:06:07 performer who holds a season’s best of 2:15:31, and Titus Mbishei, who will be making his debut over the distance after showing fine credentials on shorter distances as he boasts respective PBs of 26:59.81 for 10,000m and 59:55 for the half marathon.
Ethiopia’s Abera Kuma and Deribe Robi could also be a threat. While Kuma has not raced over the distance this year, he clocked a PB of 2:05:56 three years ago. Robi, meanwhile, is fresh from a 2:17:44 performance in Beijing last September and will be looking to bounce back and get close to his lifetime best of 2:05:58 set in 2015.
Kibrom Ghebrezgiabhier, who represented Eritrea at this year’s World Championships, will be looking to improve on his season’s best of 2:14:52 and perhaps even challenge his PB of 2:09:36.