Rhonex Kipruto breaks the world 10km record in Valencia (© Organisers)
Along with its World Athletics Platinum Label marathon on 6 December, the Valencia Marathon Trinidad Alfonso EDP will also stage an elite half marathon on the same day, and both races have attracted some of the world’s best distance runners.
In recent years Valencia has built a reputation as a city that produces fast times. Two world records have been set in the men’s 10km in the Spanish city, along with two women’s world records for the half marathon.
Fast times will be the target once again on 6 December. 2019 Tokyo Marathon champion Ruti Aga, who has a PB of 2:18:34, is the fastest woman in the field, but fellow Ethiopian Birhane Dibaba’s PB is just one second slower at 2:18:35.
Mare Dibaba, the 2015 world champion, is also in the field, along with Ethiopian compatriots Zeineba Yimer and Tigist Girma – all of whom have sub-2:20 PBs.
Peres Jepchirchir, who recently broke the world half marathon record, is also set to compete, as are fellow Kenyans Joyciline Jepkosgei, the former world half marathon record-holder, Joan Chelimo and Fancy Chemutai. USA’s Jordan Hasay completes the field.
Kinde Atanaw, who set a course record of 2:03:51 last year, will defend his title when he lines up against fellow Ethiopian Birhanu Legese, whose 2:02:48 PB makes him the third-fastest man in history.
Others in the field include world champion Lelisa Desisa, Boston and Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono, European record-holder Kaan Kigen Özbilen and Ethiopian half marathon record-holder Jemal Yimer, who will be making his marathon debut.
The half marathon will be held on the same day without overlapping with the marathon, but the end goal is the same: fast times. The course records of 58:18 and 1:04:51 – which are just shy of the world records (58:01 and 1:04:31) – are expected to come under threat.
World 10,000m bronze medallist Rhonex Kipruto, who set a world 10km record of 26:24 in Valencia earlier this year, will return to the Spanish city to make his half marathon debut. World cross-country silver medallist Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda is also among the athletes entered.
Ten other runners with sub-60-minute PBs are in the field, including 2019 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon champion Stephen Kiprop, 2016 world half marathon silver medallist Bedan Karoki, 2019 Valencia Half runner-up Bernard Ngeno, European record-holder Julien Wanders and African cross-country champion Alfred Barkach.
World 10,000m silver medallist Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia will make her half marathon debut and will take on Sheila Chepkirui, the second-fastest woman in history over 10km (29:46), and 2015 world 5000m silver medallist Senbere Teferi, who won in Valencia last year in 1:05:32.
The organisers will create a health bubble around the race and take stringent safety measures to ensure the event carries minimal health risk. The race will have its own medical app, which will be supported by an external consultant to collect all the data and ensure, if necessary, the traceability of the movements made by the athletes and other people involved in organising the race.
Birhanu Legese (ETH) 2:02:48
Kinde Atanaw (ETH) 2:03:51
Lawrence Cherono (KEN) 2:04:06
Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (TUR) 2:04:16
Lelisa Desisa (ETH) 2:04:45
Jemal Yimer (ETH) debut
Ruti Aga (ETH) 2:18:34
Birhane Dibaba (ETH) 2:18:35
Zeineba Yimer (ETH) 2:19:28
Tigist Girma (ETH) 2:19:52
Mare Dibaba (ETH) 2:19:52
Jordan Hasay (USA) 2:20:57
Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN) 2:22:38
Peres Jepchirchir (KEN) 2:23:50
Joan Chelimo (KEN) 2:26:24
Fancy Chemutai (KEN) debut
Stephen Kiprop (KEN) 58:42
Bedan Karoki (KEN) 58:42
Bernard Ngeno (KEN) 59:07
Alexander Mutiso (KEN) 59:09
Julien Wanders (SUI) 59:13
Philemon Kiplimo (KEN) 59:28
Geoffrey Koech (KEN) 59:36
Gabriel Geay (TAN) 59:42
Alfred Barkach (KEN) 59:46
Kelvin Kiptum (KEN) 59:53
Callum Hawkins (GBR) 1:00:00
Yohanes Ghebregergis (ERI) 1:00:16
William Wanjiku (KEN) 1:00:24
Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) 1:01:53
Rhonex Kipruto (KEN) debut
Senbere Teferi (ETH) 1:05:32
Emily Sisson (USA) 1:07:30
Sheila Chepkirui (KEN) 1:07:37
Charlotte Purdue (GBR) 1:08:23
Letesenbet Gidey (ETH) debut