Waganesh Mekasha winning at the 2014 Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (© Organisers)
The Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon will feature eight men with career bests faster than 2:10 on the start line of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race on Sunday (6).
Kenya’s Evans Cheruiyot, now 33, is the fastest man in the field with a personal best of 2:06:25 when he won the 2008 Chicago Marathon. Although he has not run faster than 2:09 since 2011, he has retained his winning ways and won the Enschede Marathon in April this year in 2:09:40, his fastest time for four years.
Ethiopia’s Gezahegn Girma has not run a marathon in 2015 but on his day could also challenge for a place on the podium, as he showed when finishing second at the 2013 Marrakech Marathon – a race he won in 2011 – in a personal best of 2:07:11.
Girma will also be the man most likely to end the Kenyan winning streak at the Singapore Marathon which dates back 13 editions to 2002.
Kenya's Philemon Baaru has shown good form this year with third place in the Milan Marathon and second in Casablanca, in times of 2:09:08 and 2:10:56 respectively.
The Kenyan pair of Isaac Kosgei, who won the 2013 Enschede Marathon in a personal best of 2:09:17, and Robert Kiplimo, who is on a winning streak after triumphing at the Padua Marathon in a personal best of 2:09:32 and at the Changsha Marathon this year, could also be a threat.
In the women’s race, the champions for the past two years, Kenya’s Sharon Cherop and Ethiopia’s Waganesh Mekasha, return to Singapore.
Cherop, the 2011 world bronze medallist, finished second at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon six weeks ago in 2:24:16 so it will be interesting to see whether she has much left in her legs.
By contrast, Mekasha has not raced internationally since her win in Singapore 12 months ago.
There are two other good Kenyans in the women’s field with 2010 Commonwealth Games 10,000m silver medallist Doris Changeywo, who is making her marathon debut, and Peninah Arusei, who can boast of a best of 2:27:17.
There is also a pair of good European runners: Belarusian converted race walker Volha Mazuronak, who clocked a personal best of 2:25:36 in London this year, and Ukraine’s Olena Burkovska, who has a best of 2:27:07.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF