Kenya’s Reuben Kiprop Kipyego will face an uphill task while defending his title at the 3rd edition of the Abu Dhabi Marathon that will be held on 26, November in Abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Kipyego returns to this race with a personal best of 2:03.55 which he got early this year at the Generali Milano Marathon and this time has placed him as the 20th fastest runner in the world.
The 25 years-old will battle with the two times World Champion Abel Kirui who carries a personal best of 2:05.04 that he got in 2009 at the Rotterdam Marathon where he finished in third place.
The 2012 London Olympic silver medallist, is one runner who has maintained his running status for the last 16 years in marathon and other road running championships across the world.
Kipyegon had been selected to be a pacemaker but he turned the tables as ran away with the 2019 title beating runner-up Joel Kimurer by a minute and 41 seconds. As the marathon champion, Kipyego earned $100,000 in prize money.
The race have put the two top athletes together to try and target the race course record that was set in the first edition of 2:04.04 by Marius Kipserem from Kenya.
Speaking on the confirmation of the latest world-class athletes, Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “As we return for our much-anticipated third edition, this year’s elite level line-up will see some of the world’s best male and female runners heading to Abu Dhabi to compete for the top prize. With two ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon champions returning in 2021 to defend their title, we can look ahead to an incredible display of competition and talent, further enhancing the event’s global reputation as one of the most prestigious races to participate at. We are proud that they have chosen our wonderful city and this fantastic event, and we look forward to welcoming them to the start line in Abu Dhabi.”
The total prize fund for the 2021 Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon is worth $303,000 (Dhs1.11 million) and will be shared across the various categories, with both elite male and female marathon winners taking home $50,000 (Dhs183,500) each.
A bonus cash of $30,000 is also being awarded, should they break the current course record.
Kenya’s Reuben Kipyego and Ruth Chepngetich head the fields for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday (10), with Sara Hall and Galen Rupp leading US hopes at the World Athletics Elite Platinum Label road race.
After action in Berlin and London in recent weeks, Chicago is the next race in a busy period of major marathons and the Boston event follows just one day later. The weather in Chicago looks set to be warm, with temperatures of around 21°C expected for the start of the elite races at 7:30am local time.
The last edition of the Chicago Marathon in 2019 saw a world record fall as Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei clocked 2:14:04 to take 81 seconds from Paula Radcliffe’s 2003 mark. This time her compatriots Chepngetich, who won the 2019 world title, and Vivian Kiplagat are among the athletes in the spotlight.
Chepngetich sits fourth on the women’s marathon all-time list thanks to the 2:17:08 PB she set when winning in Dubai in 2019 and she ran a world half marathon record in Istanbul in April with 1:04:02. The 27-year-old was unable to finish the Olympic marathon in Tokyo but is looking forward to her US debut race in Chicago.
“I have never raced in the States and making my debut in such a great race like the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is more than a dream to me,” she said. “I will give all myself trying to run as fast as possible.”
Hall will be among those looking to challenge her. The US athlete beat Chepngetich at last year’s London Marathon, as the pair finished second and third respectively behind Kosgei, and Hall went on to run a PB of 2:20:32 in Arizona a couple of months later. Now she has her eye on Deena Kastor’s 2:19:36 US record, should the conditions allow.
“When I thought about where I wanted to chase the American record, I thought it would be more exciting to do it at home, in the US, and Chicago is such an epic race,” she said.
The other sub-2:25 women in the field are Kiplagat, the USA’s Keira D’Amato and Ethiopia’s Meseret Belete. Kiplagat, who ran her marathon PB of 2:21:11 in 2019, clocked 2:39:18 in Eldoret in June but showed her current form with a personal best performance in the half marathon of 1:06:07 in Copenhagen last month. Like Hall, D’Amato also ran a PB in Arizona in December, clocking 2:22:56, while 22-year-old Belete – who was sixth at the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships and ran a world U20 best of 1:07:51 later that year – has a marathon PB of 2:24:54 set when finishing fourth in Houston last year.
Among those joining them on the start line will be the USA’s Emma Bates, Diane Nukuri and Lindsay Flanagan.
Kipyego ready to turn up the heat
Kipyego ready to turn up the heat With his PB of 2:03:55 set at the Milan Marathon in May, Kipyego goes into the Chicago race as the second fastest man in 2021. The 25-year-old made his marathon debut in Buenos Aires in 2019, clocking 2:05:18, and later that year he improved to 2:04:40 to win in Abu Dhabi, despite having started the race as a pacemaker. He also seems unfazed by the warmer than expected temperatures, simply replying: ‘No problem’ at the pre-race press conference when asked about the weather.
Ethiopia’s Seifu Tura, meanwhile, explained how he is not as comfortable in the heat but he will go into the race looking to build on the 2:04:29 PB he set when finishing fourth in that same Milan Marathon in May. He also has experience of the Chicago event, having finished sixth in 2019 in 2:08:35.
Rupp leads US hopes as the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist returns to action after his eighth place in the Tokyo Olympic marathon nine weeks ago and third-place finish in the Great North Run half marathon in 1:01:52 last month. Eighth fastest among the entries, his PB of 2:06:07 was set in Prague in 2018 but he will be looking to regain the crown he claimed in 2017.
Kenya’s Dickson Chumba is also a former Chicago winner, having triumphed in 2015, and he set his PB of 2:04:32 in the same city the year before that. The fourth sub-2:05 runner in the field is Kengo Suzuki, who broke the Japanese record with his 2:04:56 to win the Lake Biwa Marathon in February.
Kenya’s Eric Kiptanui is also one to watch. Having helped to pace world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge in the past, the 58:42 half marathon runner made his own marathon debut last year and improved to 2:05:47 to win in Siena in April. “I was so happy to run 2:06 for my first marathon,” he told NN Running Team. “What it proved to me was, yes, I was in good shape but that I had the mentality to perform over the marathon distance.” Looking ahead to Chicago, he added: “I aim to run 2:03/2:04 but my first priority is to win the race.”
Ethiopia’s Chalu Deso and Shifera Tamru have respective bests of 2:04:53 and 2:05:18, while Ian Butler, who is coached by former world record-holder Steve Jones and balances his running with his job as a teacher, is the second-fastest US runner in the field with a PB of 2:09:45 set in Arizona last year.
The race organizers 43rd edition of the Chicago Marathon has announced significant changes to their elite field.
Fourteen (14) elite athletes have withdrawn while seventeen elite athletes (17) have been added.
Among those who have withdrawn in the men category include Getaneh Molla from Ethiopia who holds a personal best of 2:03.34, Bahrain’s Hassan El Abbassi of 2:04.43, Kenya’s Joel Kimurer who has a personal best of 2:05.19, Laban Korir of 2:05.54, and Masato Kikuchi of 2:07.20 from Japan.
The top women elites who have withdrawn are Mexico’s Vianney De La Rosa who has a personal best of 2:20.04 and Britain’s Rosie Edwards of pb 2:31.56.
The oraganisers have now included Kenya’s Dickson Chumba who has appeared on the Chicago podium three times including a victory in 2015 and he holds a personal best of 2:04.32.
The fastest man that has been included in this field is Reuben Kipyego from Kenya who comes to this race with 2:03.55 that he got early this year at the Generali Milano Marathon, where he finished in second place.
Kenya’s Eric Kiptanui—also known as “captain of the pacemakers” and “kingmaker” for his work leading a team of 41 pacemakers to help teammate Eliud Kipchoge run a blistering 1:59.40 marathon in Vienna in –2019—enters this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon with a fresh personal best, 2:05:47.
Japan’s nation’s national marathon record holder, Kengo Suzuki of who holds a personal best of 2:04.56 and Ethiopia’s Chalu Deso of pb 2:04.53 who finished sixth at the Valencia Marathon in 2020 have also been included.
The women elite side, Vivian Kiplagat comes with a personal best of 2:21.11 with Ethiopia’s Meseret Belete who holds a pb of 2:24.54 and Americans Carrie Dimoff and Maegan Krifchin both with personal best of 2:31.12 and 2:33.14respectively have joined the race.
The top runners will receive USD 55,000, down from USD 100,000 in 2019 when the race was last contested. The winning wheelchair athletes will receive $20,000, and the top American runners will get $15,000 (equal to 2019). Although the event has a history of fast times, organizers are not offering any publicly-reported time bonuses this year.
Kenyans Brigid Kosgei and Lawrence Cherono, who are the reigning champion will not be racing this year. Kosgei who set a world record of 2:14.04 when she won the 2019 edition, ran the Virgin Money London Marathon last Sunday and finished fourth. She also won the silver medal at the Olympic Marathon in Sapporo last August. Cherono, finished fourth at the Olympic Marathon and has not been announced for a fall marathon.