Elisha Rotich, Mosinet Geremew, Guteni Shone, Joan Chelimo Melly
Organisers of the Seoul Marathon have assembled what is arguably their strongest ever line-up for the World Athletics Elite Platinum Label road race on Sunday (17).
Eight men with sub-2:06 PBs and five women with sub-2:21 lifetime bests are among the highly competitive fields.
World silver medallist Mosinet Geremew heads the men’s line-up. The former Ethiopian record-holder, who has a PB of 2:02:55, has finished in top three in eight of his nine completed marathons. He was unable to finish the Tokyo Marathon earlier this year, but he’ll return to action on Sunday in a bid to become just the second Ethiopian man in history to win the Seoul Marathon.
If he falls short of that target, compatriot Herpasa Negasa stands a good chance. Runner-up in Dubai in 2019, he is a 2:03:40 performer at his best.
Elisha Kipchirchir Rotich leads the Kenyan charge. A formidable opponent, he won the Paris Marathon last year in a PB of 2:04:21. He also has five other career marathon victories to his name, and he finished second in Seoul in 2019.
Three-time Toronto Marathon winner Philemon Rono is also entered, as is Kenyan compatriot Mark Korir. The 2015 Paris Marathon winner has a 2:05:49 PB and will be making his fifth appearance in Seoul; he has made the podium three times in the Korean city but is yet to win.
Korea’s Joohan Oh – formerly known as Wilson Loyanae of Kenya – is also familiar with the streets of Seoul, having won the race four times. He also holds the course record at 2:05:13, but his last completed marathon was back in 2019 when he finished second in Gyeongju in 2:08:42.
Ugandan duo Filex Chemonges and Moses Kibet are also worth keeping an eye on. Chemonges, who represented Uganda at the Olympics last year, holds the national record at 2:05:12. Kibet, meanwhile, has only contested two marathons to date but already has a PB of 2:05:20.
Other entered athletes include 2017 Seoul runner-up Felix Kandie of Kenya, Kenneth Keter, Brazilian Olympian Daniel do Nascimento, two-time Amsterdam winner Benard Kipyego, Solomon Kirwa Yego and Martin Kosgey.
The women’s race looks just as competitive and similarly tough to call.
Guteni Shone returns to Seoul, seven years after her victory there. Since then, she has also won in Ottawa and Seville, while in more recent years she has finished second in Prague in 2021 and second in Dubai in 2020 – the latter with a PB of 2:20:11, making her the fastest in the field for Sunday. In fact, she has finished in the top two in her past four marathons and she won’t want to relinquish that streak this weekend.
She’ll be joined on the start line by two fellow Ethiopians who also have a strong marathon record. Sutume Asefa, winner of the Beijing Marathon in 2019, set a PB of 2:20:30 when finishing third in Tokyo two years ago. Shure Demise, meanwhile, set her PB of 2:20:59 on her debut at the distance in Dubai back in 2015, but has gone on to win in Toronto twice. She also placed third in Tokyo in 2019 and in Chicago in 2018.
Netsanet Gudeta may not have the fastest PB of the elite field – partly because she has only completed two marathons to date – but she is a proven contender at the half marathon distance, having won the 2018 world title. Her half marathon PB of 1:05:45 suggests she’s capable of improving on her 2:26:09 marathon PB.
Joan Chelimo Melly has an even quicker half marathon PB, 1:05:04, making her one of the fastest women of all time for the distance. The Kenyan has started to move up to the marathon in recent years and has a PB of 2:20:57.
Other Kenyans in the line-up include Agnes Jeruto Barsosio, who was third in Seoul in 2016, Selly Chepyego Kaptich, and Celestine Chepchirchir, who was third in Seoul in 2019. Bahrain’s Eunice Chumba, seventh at the Olympics last year, is another one to watch.
Guteni Shone (ETH) 2:20:11
Sutume Asefa (ETH) 2:20:30
Joan Chelimo Melly (KEN) 2:20:57
Agnes Jeruto Barsosio (KEN) 2:20:59
Shure Demise (ETH) 2:20:59
Selly Chepyego Kaptich (KEN) 2:21:06
Eunice Chumba (BRN) 2:23:10
Celestine Chepchirchir (KEN) 2:23:38
Netsanet Gudeta (ETH) 2:26:09
Mosinet Geremew (ETH) 2:02:55
Herpasa Negasa (ETH) 2:03:40
Elisha Kipchirchir Rotich (KEN) 2:04:21
Philemon Rono (KEN) 2:05:00
Filex Chemonges (UGA) 2:05:12
Joohan Oh (KOR) 2:05:13
Moses Kibet (UGA) 2:05:20
Mark Korir (KEN) 2:05:49
Felix Kandie (KEN) 2:06:03
Kenneth Keter (KEN) 2:06:05
Daniel do Nascimento (BRA) 2:06:11
Benard Kipyego (KEN) 2:06:19
Solomon Kirwa Yego (KEN) 2:06:24
Martin Kosgey (KEN) 2:06:41
Vincent Kipsang Rono (KEN) 2:07:10
Lucas Kimeli Rotich (KEN) 2:07:17
Belachew Alemayehu (ETH) 2:07:55
Brian Kipsang (KEN) 2:09:07