Hilda Kibet after her win in the Dam to Dam 10-miler (© organisers)
Former European cross-country champion Hilda Kibet tops the list of female entrants for the ABN-AMRO Marathon Rotterdam, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on 14 April.
The Dutchwoman will be looking to record her first career victory in the Marathon and is particularly eager to succeed in Rotterdam, having finished a close second in 2011 when she set her PB of 2:24:27.
Kibet, who turned 32 yesterday (27 March), has started 2013 in great form too, smashing her PB over 13.1 miles with her 67:59 performance at the Roma-Ostia Half Marathon. But she will face strong opposition from a handful of Ethiopian runners.
Misikir Mekonnin has a personal best of 2:25:21, a time she clocked nearly two years ago finishing second in San Diego. Already this year the 26-year old has won the Hong Kong Marathon in 2:30:49, successfully defending her title from last year.
She will be joined in Rotterdam by compatriot Harun Makda. A former winner in Venice, she finished second to Mekonnin in Hong Kong and has a personal best of 2:26:46, set last year in Paris where she finished third.
Another Ethiopian, Abebech Afework, will be contesting just her second Marathon to date. The 22-year-old made her debut over the distance earlier this year in Dubai, clocking 2:27:08. Team-mate Mekuria Aberume is just a fraction slower at 2:27:20, but is a former winner in Eindhoven and Cologne.
Spain’s Alessandra Aguilar has twice before competed in Rotterdam, finishing third in 2008 and fourth in 2011 – where she set her 2:27.00 PB – so she will have that as a target for this year. Miranda Boonstra of the Netherlands also set her lifetime best in Rotterdam, clocking 2:27:32 last year just four months shy of her 40th birthday.
Also entered are Kenya’s Jemima Jelagat, who has a PB of 2:28:32 and finished second in Boston last year, and USA’s Adriana Nelson, a former runner-up in Chicago with a PB of 2:28:52.
Earlier this month the men's field for Rotterdam was announced, and six of them boast sub-2:06 PBs – Berhanu Shiferaw, Getu Feleke, Bazu Worku, Tilahun Regassa, Wilson Chebet and Sammy Kitwara. Also in the field are Geoffrey Kipsang, Assefa Bentayehu and Augustine Rono.
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF