News05 Mar 2024

Assefa takes on Kosgei, Chepngetich and Jepchirchir at London Marathon


Brigid Kosgei, Ruth Chepngetich, Tigist Assefa, Peres Jepchirchir and Yalemzerf Yehualaw

Three of the top four fastest women in history will spearhead a charge to set a women-only world record at the TCS London Marathon – a World Athletics Platinum Label road race – on Sunday 21 April.

The challenge will be led by Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa, who smashed the world record with 2:11:53 in Berlin last year, taking more than two minutes off Brigid Kosgei’s mark.

The two women are among a star-studded list of London-bound runners aiming to finish well inside the women-only world record of 2:17:01, set by Mary Keitany in the British capital back in 2017.

Others with eyes on the record include Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir, 2019 world champion Ruth Chepngetich, the fourth-fastest woman of all time, 2022 London Marathon champion Yalemzerf Yehualaw, and 2021 London Marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei.

Incredibly, 10 women in the field have PBs faster than 2:17:30. Multiple world and Olympic gold medallist Almaz Ayana, recent Dubai Marathon winner Tigist Ketema, fellow Ethiopian Megertu Alemu and Kenya’s Sheila Chepkirui are also in the line-up.

Pacemakers will be tasked with keeping the leading women on track for the women-only world record, which is possible at the London Marathon as the elite women run a separate race to the elite men and masses.

“We are in a golden age of women’s marathon running,” said event director Hugh Brasher. “When Paula Radcliffe ran her incredible world record of 2:15:25 at the 2003 London Marathon, we had to wait 16 years for Brigid Kosgei to beat it. But since then, a further four women have run faster than Paula’s time including Tigst Assefa, who lowered the world record even further with her stunning run in Berlin last year. Despite this, the women’s-only world record of 2:17:01, set by the great Mary Keitany here at the London Marathon in 2017, has amazingly stayed intact. 

“However, I suspect that with Assefa, Kosgei and the likes of Ruth Chepngetich, Peres Jepchirchir and Yalemzerf Yehualaw in the field, Keitany’s world record is going to be under serious threat.”

The elite men’s race is headlined by New York City Marathon champion Tamirat Tola, two-time New York City Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor, and Kenenisa Bekele, multiple world and Olympic gold medallist on the track.

Two-time world silver medallist Mosinet Geremew and Alexander Mutiso Munyao, who was runner-up at the 2023 Valencia Marathon in 2:03:11, are also on the entries, as are Ethiopia’s Dawit Wolde,
2019 Valencia winner Kinde Atanaw and world bronze medallist Leul Gebresilase.

Emile Cairess and Callum Hawkins are the fastest of the British entrants. Compatriot Marc Scott, the 2022 world indoor 3000m bronze medallist, will be making his marathon debut.

Elite field

Tigist Assefa (ETH) 2:11:53
Brigid Kosgei (KEN) 2:14:04
Ruth Chepngetich (KEN) 2:14:18
Tigist Ketema (ETH) 2:16:07
Almaz Ayana (ETH) 2:16:22
Megertu Alemu (ETH) 2:17:09
Peres Jepchirchir (KEN) 2:17:16
Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN) 2:17:23
Yalemzerf Yehualaw (ETH) 2:17:23
Sheila Chepkirui (KEN) 2:17:29
Tsige Haileslase (ETH) 2:22:10
Susanna Sullivan (USA) 2:24:27
Manon Trapp (FRA) 2:25:48
Becky Briggs (GBR) 2:29:04
Alice Wright (GBR) 2:29:08

Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 2:01:41
Mosinet Geremew (ETH) 2:02:55
Alexander Mutiso Munyao (KEN) 2:03:11
Tamirat Tola (ETH) 2:03:39
Dawit Wolde (ETH) 2:03:48
Kinde Atanaw (ETH) 2:03:51
Leul Gebresilase (ETH) 2:04:02
Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN) 2:04:23
Seifu Tura (ETH) 2:04:29
Daniel Do Nascimento (BRA) 2:04:51
Addisu Gobena (ETH) 2:05:01
Milkesa Mengesha (ETH) 2:05:29
Henok Tesfay (ERI) 2:07:12
Emile Cairess (GBR) 2:08:07
Callum Hawkins (GBR) 2:08:14
Hassan Chahdi (FRA) 2:08:19
Mahamed Mahamed (GBR) 2:08:40
Brian Shrader (USA) 2:09:46
Weynay Ghebresilasie (GBR) 2:09:50
Marc Scott (GBR) debut