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Jeptoo Leads Amazing Women's Field in London

Published by
RunnerSpace.com/RoadRacing   Apr 1st 2014, 2:05pm

Women’s Preview: Jeptoo Returns to Defend Her London Crown

Published by the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 1, 2014

The Olympic champion, the world champion and one of the greatest distance runners of all-time will be among Priscah Jeptoo's opponents when she defends her Virgin Money London Marathon women's title on Sunday 13 April.

The Kenyan produced the second fastest time of 2013 to win the London Marathon last April and she will need to be equally sharp this year when she defends her crown against a field that includes three athletes who have run quicker than 2 hours 20 minutes and eight who have finished in under 2:25, plus the three-times Olympic track champion and multi-world record breaker, Tirunesh Dibaba, who races over 26.2 miles for the first time.

Jeptoo returns to London full of confidence after a great year in 2013. The Olympic silver medallist won the Great North Run in September and the New York Marathon title in November, a victory worth half a million dollars as she secured the 2012/13 World Marathon Majors prize.

Jeptoo's main threat this year could come from Tiki Gelana, the Ethiopian who beat her to the Olympic title in pouring rain at London 2012. Gelana will be hoping for better luck this year after her London Marathon chances were ruined 12 months ago when she collided with wheelchair racer Josh Cassidy at a drinks station.

Gelana eventually finished 16th and a few months later dropped out of the World Championships marathon in Moscow. On paper, she's still the fastest woman in the field, but the Ethiopian record holder will feel she has a point to prove on her return to the British capital.

There will also be stiff competition from two others Kenyans - Edna Kiplagat, who retained her world title in Moscow last August and has been runner-up in London for the last two years, and Florence Kiplagat, who won the Berlin Marathon for a second time last September and broke the half marathon world record in Barcelona this February.

The experienced marathon runners will all keep a wary eye on Dibaba, however, as the Ethiopian steps up to the classic distance after a glittering career on the track.

She won the world 10,000m title for the third time in Moscow last year, adding another gold medal to a collection that includes two world 5000m crowns and three Olympic titles, plus numerous world records and cross country honours. Dibaba was due to make her marathon debut last year but withdrew from the field with a shin injury just a month before the race.

Two other Ethiopians will also be worth watching - Aberu Kebede, who has twice won the Berlin Marathon and last year had victories in Tokyo and Shanghai, and Feysa Tadesse, who won the Shanghai Marathon in 2012 and clinched the Paris Marathon last April.

Ukrainian record holder Tetyana Gamera-Shmyrko leads the European challenge. She won the Osaka Marathon in impressive style last January and was fifth at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Portuguese pair Jéssica Augusto and Ana Dulce Félix could also make an impact, while Kim Smith returns to the London Marathon four years after she broke the New Zealand record to finish seventh here in 2010.

Domestic interest rests with Amy Whitehead and Emma Stepto who will face marathon debutante Gemma Steel as the trio battle for the honour of being first Briton home.

Many of the elite women will appear at a London Marathon press conference at the Tower Hotel, London, on Thursday 10 April. Gemma Steel will appear with other leading British runners at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

Click here for full details

Elite Women: Entries

Bib no.    Name                                     Nation      PB                Bib name

101           Priscah Jeptoo                       KEN          2:20:14         JEPTOO

102           Tiki Gelana                            ETH          2:18:58         GELANA

103           Florence Kiplagat                   KEN          2:19:44         F. KIPLAGAT

104           Edna Kiplagat                        KEN          2:19:50         E. KIPLAGAT

105           Aberu Kebede                        ETH          2:20:30         KEBEDE

106           Feysa Tadesse                       ETH          2:21:06         TADESSE

107           Tetyana Gamera-Shmyrko      UKR          2:23:58         TETYANA

108           Jéssica Augusto                     POR          2:24:33         AUGUSTO

109           Kim Smith                             NZL          2:25:21         SMITH

110           Ana Dulce Félix                      POR          2:25:40         FELIX

111           Nadia Ejjafini                         ITA           2:26:15         EJJAFINI

112           Diane Nukuri-Johnson            BDI           2:29:54         JOHNSON

113           Amy Whitehead                     GBR          2:33:44         WHITEHEAD

114           Emma Stepto                        GBR          2:35:05         STEPTO

115           Tirunesh Dibaba                    ETH           Debut            DIBABA

116           Gemma Steel                        GBR          Debut            STEEL

117           Lyudmyla Kovalenko              UKR          Debut            KOVALENKO

118           Yuko Shimizu                         JPN          Debut            SHIMIZU

Read the full article at: lrn.london-marathon.com
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