Brigid Kosgei at the start of the 2021 London Marathon (© Getty Images)
World record-holder Brigid Kosgei, defending champion Joyciline Jepkosgei and the fastest ever women’s marathon debutant, Yalemzerf Yehualaw, will star in a highly-anticipated clash at the TCS London Marathon on 2 October.
A total of nine sub-2:20 athletes have been announced for the women’s field in the World Athletics Elite Platinum Label road race.
Kenya’s Kosgei returns to London looking to win her third London Marathon crown after victories in 2019 and 2020. The Olympic silver medallist, who set the world record of 2:14:04 in Chicago in 2019, finished a surprise fourth in London last year but bounced back to win this year’s Tokyo Marathon in a world-leading time of 2:16:02.
The 2021 champion Jepkosgei – a former world record-holder over the half marathon distance and winner of the 2019 New York City Marathon – ran a personal best of 2:17:43 to win last year’s London Marathon, the fastest time in the world in 2021.
For Yehualaw, who broke the world 10km record with 29:14 in Castellon in February, the London event offers her the chance to return to marathon racing after her 2:17:23 in Hamburg in April – the fastest ever women’s marathon debut.
Ethiopian duo Degitu Azimeraw and Ashete Bekere, who finished second and third in London last year, also return. Bekere finished second behind Kosgei at this year’s Tokyo Marathon in a PB of 2:17:58.
They will be joined by fellow sub-2:20 runners Joan Chelimo Melly (2:18:04), Sutume Asefa Kebede (2:18:12), Alemu Megertu (2:18:51) and Hiwot Gebrekidan (2:19:10) as well as former world half marathon record holder Ababel Yeshaneh (2:20:51).
British No.1 Charlotte Purdue also returns to the race as the fourth-fastest British women’s marathon runner of all time following her 2:23:26 to finish 10th overall in last year’s London Marathon.
She will be joined by her compatriot Eilish McColgan, who makes her marathon debut 26 years after her mum Liz won the 1996 edition of the London race. Eilish steps up to 26.2 miles following national record performances over 5km, 10km and half marathon this year.
Ethiopia’s Girmawit Gebrzihair, who ran 1:04:14 to win the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in February, also makes her marathon debut.
Organisers for World Athletics
Elite women’s field
Brigid Kosgei (KEN) 2:14:04
Yalemzerf Yehualaw (ETH) 2:17:23
Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN) 2:17:43
Degitu Azimeraw (ETH) 2:17:58
Ashete Bekere (ETH) 2:17:58
Joan Chelimo Melly (ROU) 2:18:04
Sutume Asefa Kebede (ETH) 2:18:12
Alemu Megertu (ETH) 2:18:51
Hiwot Gebrekidan (ETH) 2:19:10
Ababel Yeshaneh (ETH) 2:20:51
Mary Ngugi (KEN) 2:21:32
Charlotte Purdue (GBR) 2:23:26
Reia Iwade (JPN) 2:23:52
Stephanie Twell (GBR) 2:26:40
Rose Harvey (GBR) 2:27:20
Marci Klimek (USA) 2:30:48
Samantha Harrison (GBR) 2:32:22
Anna Bracegirdle (GBR) 2:34:20
Emma Styles (GBR) 2:37:36
Girmawit Gebrzihair (ETH) debut
Eilish McColgan (GBR) debut