Women’s review: Gelana returns for more London glory
09 April 2013
Eight months after winning Olympic gold in London last August, Tiki Gelana will be back in the British capital on Sunday 21 April seeking to become the first Ethiopian to win the women's London Marathon title since Derartu Tulu in 2001.
Gelana heads a field that boasts four athletes who have run quicker than two hours 20 minutes, 10 who have gone under 2:25, and five of the 20 quickest runners of all time.
Among those who will line up for the 26.2-mile journey are two of the three 2012 Olympic medallists, the gold and silver medallists from the 2011 World Championships, and champions from numerous major city marathons such as Berlin, Chicago, New York, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Paris, Rotterdam and Frankfurt.
After her bloody and bruising Olympic victory, Gelana has proved she will be a tough athlete to beat, especially in the absence of the two previous London champions, Mary Keitany and Liliya Shobukhova, who are both pregnant. She also holds the quickest time in the field thanks to her winning run at the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon when she crossed the line in 2:18:58, making her the fourth fastest woman in history.
Her task will be far from easy, however, for those ranged against her include five highly-decorated Kenyans, three of whom are sub-2:20 runners, their collective aim to keep the crown in Kenya's hands for a third year running.
World champion Edna Kiplagat hopes to step up a place after finishing third and second here in the last two years, while last year's number three, Priscah Jeptoo, will be looking to reach the top of the podium this time after chasing Gelana home to take silver at the Olympics.
Florence Kiplagat, the 2011 Berlin Marathon champion, will also have something to prove after she missed out on Olympic selection in 2012.
Kenyans filled the top five places last year, but Gelana has strong Ethiopian back-up this year in the shape of Atsede Baysa and Meselech Melkamu who both come to London with high hopes after big marathon wins last autumn.
Baysa won the Chicago Marathon in style, while Melkamu enjoyed a winning debut in Frankfurt at the end of October.
Yoko Shibui is the quickest of five Japanese athletes in the field, one of a select few women to have gone quicker than 2:20, although Yukiko Akaba is most likely to threaten the medals should the Africans slip up. Akaba has been fifth in London twice in recent years.
Portuguese star Jéssica Augusto is the leading European this year. A vastly experienced international, Augusto will hope to improve on her eighth place finish here in the last two races.
British interest is focused on the 2012 Olympian, Freya Ross, who was 13th on her debut 12 months' ago.
Many of the elite women will appear at a Virgin London Marathon press conference at the Tower Hotel, London, on Thursday 18 April, followed by a press conference with the leading British runners in this year's race. Click here for full details.
Elite Women: Entries
Bib no. Name Nation PB Bib name
102 Tiki Gelana ETH 2:18:58 GELANA
104 Yoko Shibui JPN 2:19:41 SHIBUI
105 Florence Kiplagat KEN 2:19:44 F KIPLAGAT
106 Edna Kiplagat KEN 2:19:50 E KIPLAGAT
107 Priscah Jeptoo KEN 2:20:14 JEPTOO
108 Meselech Melkamu ETH 2:21:01 MELKAMU
109 Atsede Baysa ETH 2:22:03 BAYSA
110 Yukiko Akaba JPN 2:24:09 AKABA
111 Remi Nakazato JPN 2:24:28 NAKAZATO
112 Jéssica Augusto POR 2:24:33 AUGUSTO
113 Alevtina Biktimirova RUS 2:25:12 BIKTIMIROVA
114 Mai Ito JPN 2:25:26 ITO
115 Chika Horie JPN 2:26:11 HORIE
118 Olga Dubovskaya BLR 2:28:08 DUBOVSKAYA
119 Freya Ross GBR 2:28:10 ROSS
120 Adriana da Silva BRA 2:29:17 DA SILVA
121 Irvette van Zyl RSA 2:33:41 VAN ZYL
122 Amy Whitehead GBR 2:33:44 WHITEHEAD
123 Susan Partridge GBR 2:34:13 PARTRIDGE
124 Joyce Chepkirui KEN Debut CHEPKIRUI