The fall marathon season is upon us, and while it doesn’t look the same as it has in years past, there are still some great events lined up in the coming months, one of which is the December 6 Valencia Marathon. The fields for the half and full marathons in Valencia were recently announced, and there are many amazing athletes set to run, including Kenyan 10K world record-holders Rhonex Kipruto, who will be debuting at the half, and 2019 New York City Marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei. Here are a few of the runners who are on the start lists for Valencia, plus reasons why you should be excited to see them race in just a couple of months.
Rhonex Kipruto➡ WR 10K 26:24
Jacob Kiplimo➡ 26:41 10K
Kibiwott Kandie➡ 58:37
Stephen Kiprop➡ 58:42
Bedan Karoki➡ 58:42
Letensenbet Gidey➡ WR 15K 44:20
Sheila Chepkirui➡ 1:07:37
Senbere Teferi➡ 1h05:32
— MedioMaratónValencia (@MedioMaratonVLC) September 29, 2020
On the men’s side, Kipruto won’t be the only runner with a highly-anticipated debut at the half-marathon. Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda and Ethiopia’s 15K world record-holder Letensenbet Gidey are both set to take their first shots at the half as well. At just 19 years old, Kiplimo is a fast-rising star in the world of running, and fans of the sport will be eager to see how he fares over 21K. In addition to her 15K world record, Gidey won a 10,000m silver medal at last year’s world championships. With her credentials, she’ll be a serious contender for the win on December 6. Finally, after Kipruto’s record-setting 10K performance earlier this year (which was also in Valencia), it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise if he hammers out a fast debut.
10 men under 60
So far, there are 10 runners signed up to race in Valencia who have half-marathon PBs under 60 minutes, including two with sub-59 showings (Kenyans Stephen Kiprop and Bedan Karoki, who share a best time of 58:42). Julien Wanders of Switzerland is also on the start list, and he’ll be looking to lower his European record of 59:13.
World record hopes
Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese, the third-fastest marathoner in history (with a PB of 2:02:48) and Kinde Atanaw (14th all-time at 2:03:51) have been billed as the race’s best hopes for a marathon world record. The current record, which was set by Eliud Kipchoge in 2018, is 2:01:39. It’s certainly not impossible for Legese or even Atanaw to come close to this time, but shaving more than a minute (or two) off a PB is no easy task, and it will take a lot for either man to bear Kipchoge’s best.
There are several women on the start list to race the marathon who have posted sub-2:20 results. At the top of the list are Ethiopians Ruti Aga (PB of 2:18:34) and Birhane Dibaba (2:18:35), who sit at 12th and 13th all-time in the women’s marathon. Just outside of the sub-2:20 club are Jepkosgei and Jordan Hasay of the U.S. Jepkosgei has a PB of 2:22:38, but she has shown she can win in big races after taking the top spot at the 2019 New York City Marathon. With a PB of 2:20:57, Hasay should be right in the mix in Valencia, and she’ll be looking to bounce back from her last race, at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, where she finished in 26th place, well back of a spot on the American team for Tokyo 2020.