London Marathon: Why women’s race is projected to be better than Paris Olympics

Brigid Kosgei

London Marathon: Why women’s race is projected to be better than Paris Olympics

Joel Omotto 11:00 - 18.04.2024

London Marathon organisers have disclosed why they feel the women’s race at the 2024 edition will surpass what will be witnessed at the Paris Olympics later this year.

London Marathon event director Hugh Brasher is anticipating an electrifying showdown among elite female athletes at this year's marathon, boldly declaring that the competition will surpass even the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic marathon in terms of intensity and competitiveness.

Brasher's assertion stems from the stellar lineup of athletes set to grace the London Marathon, with Tigst Assefa, the fastest female marathoner in the world, leading the charge.

Assefa headlines an elite field boasting seven women who have shattered the barrier of two hours, seventeen minutes, and thirty seconds, a feat achieved by only a select few in the sport's history.

That list includes Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei, the former world record holder, whose mark of 2:14:04 set in 2019 was broken by Assefa, Olympic champion Pere Jepchirchir, former world champion Ruth Chepngetich (2:14:18) and 2022 London winner Yehualaw of Ethiopia.

Add to this Tigist Ketema, the Ethiopian who ran the world’s fastest debut marathon with 2:16:07 in Dubai last year, together with 2:17 runners Megertu Alemu of Ethiopia and Joyciline Jepkosgei and Sheila Chepkirui of Kenya and the line-up is amazingly strong.

Brasher has expressed his astonishment at the caliber of athletes assembled for the event, highlighting that three of the top four fastest women in history are slated to compete, a testament to the unprecedented level of talent on display.

“No race in the history of our sport has ever had that,” Brasher told reporters on Wednesday as quoted by The Independent. “

“So, I have no idea who’s going to win but I think it’s going to be an incredibly competitive event. This will be a harder marathon to win than the Olympic Marathon in Paris, I’m pretty goddamn certain of that.”

The anticipation for record-breaking performances is palpable, particularly with Assefa eyeing the women's-only world record of 2:17:01, currently held by Mary Keitany.

Assefa's blistering pace and determination were showcased in her remarkable achievement at the Berlin Marathon, where she clocked an astonishing time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 53 seconds, setting the world record for women in a mixed-gender race.

The London Marathon has a reputation for delivering unforgettable moments, as evidenced by Sifan Hassan's remarkable victory last year, overcoming early setbacks to emerge triumphant in her marathon debut.

Brasher reflected on the memorable race, emphasizing the resilience and tenacity displayed by Hassan amidst adversity.

“It was the most spectacular race last year, I don’t think anyone had seen the eventual winner stopping mid-race and massaging their hamstring in a major race before,” Brasher said.

As the anticipation builds for the upcoming event, the men's race promises its own share of excitement, with a wide-open field vying for victory in the absence of reigning champion and world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum, who tragically passed away earlier this year.

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