Previews15 Mar 2024

Competitive fields look to make a statement in Seoul


Guye Adola wins the Berlin Marathon (© Getty Images)

Ethiopia’s Guye Adola and Bahrain’s Desi Mokonin are among the athletes who will be looking to make a mark when they compete in the Seoul Marathon, this year’s sixth World Athletics Platinum Label road race, on Sunday (17).

While Adola competes in Korea for the first time, Mokonin has the benefit of race experience, as she returns to an event that she won in 2019.

Adola has the fastest PB among the entries, thanks to the 2:03:46 he ran to finish second when making his marathon debut in Berlin in 2017. The 2014 world half marathon bronze medallist returned to win in Berlin in 2021, running 2:05:45 for the third-fastest time of his career so far.

He is back in marathon action for the first time since October, when he placed third in Frankfurt after finishing runner-up in Paris in April.

There are a number of athletes who will want to challenge him in Seoul, where the men’s field features another six sub-2:06 athletes. The course record stands at 2:04:43, achieved by Mosinet Geremew in 2022.

Kenya’s Philimon Kiptoo Kipchumba has won each of the four marathons he has completed so far, most recently winning the Shanghai Marathon in November in a PB of 2:05:35, but he withdrew when defending his Xiamen Marathon title in January.

His compatriot Solomon Kirwa Yego finished third in Shanghai in a PB of 2:05:42 and then placed eighth in Xiamen, while Joel Kemboi Kimurer ran his PB of 2:05:19 in Milan in 2021 and Laban Kipngetich Korir clocked his best of 2:05:41 in Amsterdam in 2022.

Ethiopia’s Derseh Kindie will be looking to build on the PB of 2:05:51 he set in Valencia in December and he’ll be joined on the start line by his compatriots Gebru Redahgne, who finished second in the 2022 Barcelona marathon in 2:05:58, and world half marathon fourth-place finisher Jemal Yimer.

China’s Feng Peiyou and Olonbayar Jamsran of Mongolia will be among those seeking Olympic qualification.

Ethiopia’s Yebrgual Melese is the quickest in the women’s field when it comes to PBs with the 2:19:36 she ran in Dubai in 2018, but the 2015 Chicago Marathon runner up’s last recorded result was a fifth-place finish in the 2020 Xiamen Marathon.

She’s the sole sub-2:20 runner in the women’s race but she will be joined by four others who have dipped under 2:22.

Those include Mokonin, who won the 2019 Seoul Marathon in 2:23:44 and clocked her PB of 2:20:47 in Doha just over a year ago. She ended 2023 with a 2:22:29 performance to finish seventh in Valencia.

Kenya’s Celestine Chepchirchir opens her 2024 campaign after having raced four marathons last year, topped by the 2:20:46 she ran to finish fourth in Valencia. Like Mokonin, she has previously raced in Seoul and it is where she recorded her PB of 2:20:10 set in 2022, when she finished fourth.

She lines up alongside her compatriot Janet Ruguru, who set a PB of 2:23:00 to finish second in Beijing in October and placed third in the Daegu International Marathon in the April.

Sisay Meseret Gola followed her 2:20:50 PB performance in Seville in 2022 with two 2:22 marathons in 2023 – in Osaka and Amsterdam. She withdrew from this year’s Osaka Women's Marathon in January but now returns to action in a field that also features her Ethiopian compatriot Fikrte Wereta, who ended 2023 with a win and a PB in Shenzhen, clocking 2:22:07.

Former Mongolian record-holder Munkhzaya Bayartsogt will be among those hoping to put themselves in the running for a place at the Paris Olympics.

The course record of 2:18:04 was set by Romania’s Joan Chelimo Melly in 2022.

Leading entries

Yebrgual Melese (ETH) 2:19:36
Celestine Chepchirchir (KEN) 2:20:10
Desi Mokonin (BRN) 2:20:47
Sisay Meseret Gola (ETH) 2:20:50
Visiline Jepkesho (KEN) 2:21:37
Fikrte Wereta (ETH) 2:22:07
Sintayehu Tilahun (ETH) 2:22:19
Janet Ruguru (KEN) 2:23:00
Margaret Agai (KEN) 2:23:28
Sifan Melaku (ETH) 2:23:49
Munkhzaya Bayartsogt (MGL) 2:28:03
Marina Khmelevskaya (UZB) 2:29:28
Ayano Ikeuchi (JPN) 2:33:29

Guye Adola (ETH) 2:03:46
Joel Kemboi Kimurer (KEN) 2:05:19
Philimon Kiptoo Kipchumba (KEN) 2:05:35
Laban Kipngetich Korir (KEN) 2:05:41
Solomon Kirwa Yego (KEN) 2:05:42
Derseh Kindie (ETH) 2:05:51
Gebru Redahgne (ETH) 2:05:58
Mark Kiptoo (KEN) 2:06:00
Felix Kandie (KEN) 2:06:03
Mike Kiptum Boit (KEN) 2:06:08
Ashenafi Moges Weldegiorgis (ETH) 2:06:12
Edwin Kiptoo (KEN) 2:06:52
Kibrom Desta Habtu (ETH) 2:07:05
Balew Yihunie Derseh (ETH) 2:07:12
Timothy Kipkorir (KEN) 2:07:53
Rory Linkletter (CAN) 2:08:01
Feng Peiyou (CHN) 2:08:07
Rhonzas Lokitam Kilimo (KEN) 2:08:08
Olonbayar Jamsran (MGL) 2:08:58
Huang Yongzheng (CHN) 2:10:49
Gantulga Dambadarjaa (MGL) 2:11:18
Jemal Yimer (ETH) 2:11:31
Evans Kipchumba (KEN) debut

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