One year on from Pamela Rotich’s four-second victory over Winnie Jepkorir at the Daegu International Marathon, the Kenyan duo will return to the IAAF Silver Label road race on Sunday (1).
Rotich set a PB of 2:27:48 in the Korean city 12 months ago with compatriot Jepkorir taking second place in a lifetime best of 2:27:52. Rotich went on to win the Singapore Marathon later in the year, while Jepkorir reduced her lifetime best to 2:27:18 when placing third at the Valencia Marathon.
A defending champion on a winning streak versus a motivated and improved returning runner-up; it sets the scene for what looks set to be a great rematch.
In fact, six of the top seven finishers from last year will return to Daegu.
Nancy Jebet Koech finished fourth last year in a PB of 2:29:30 before going on to clock a half marathon PB of 1:11:46 and win the Malaga Marathon in 2:31:55 at the end of 2017.
Ukraine’s Olga Kotovska, fifth in Daegu last year in 2:30:18, has a marginally faster PB of 2:28:47, but it was set four years ago.
Peru’s Wilma Yanet Arizapana and Morocco’s Souad Kanbouchia, who set respective PBs of 2:30:45 and 2:31:09 to finish sixth and seventh last year, will also return to Daegu, looking to improve on their performances from 2017.
Janet Rono may not have raced in Daegu before, but her PB of 2:26:03, set when finishing fifth at the 2014 Tokyo Marathon, makes her the fastest in the field.
Ethiopian duo Megeretu Geletu, who clocked a PB of 2:29:45 in Dubai in 2016, and Nurit Yimam, who ran a lifetime best of 2:28:41 to finish fourth in Marrakech earlier this year, should also be in contention for a podium place.
Just eight days before making his marathon debut in Daegu last year, Vincent Rono had raced at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Kampala 2017.
Despite the exertions of finishing seventh in the Ugandan capital little more than a week before the Daegu Marathon, the Kenyan finished a respectable fourth in 2:10:23. Rono will return to Korea for this year’s Daegu Marathon but will have gained valuable experience of the course from 12 months ago.
The 27-year-old set a half marathon PB of 59:27 when winning in Lille last year. More recently he clocked 1:00:24 to finish ninth at the highly competitive Ras al-Khaimah Half Marathon at the start of February. He hasn’t raced since then, so his legs will be much fresher compared to last year.
He faces a tough field, though.
Fellow Kenyan Abraham Kiptum chopped his PB from 2:11:36 to 2:05:26 when finishing third in Amsterdam last October. His most recent run, however, was a 1:03:48 half marathon in Granollers in February.
Like Rono, Peter Some will also be returning to Daegu, having finished second last year in 2:09:22. The Kenyan set his PB of 2:05:38 when winning the 2013 Paris Marathon. He went on to finish ninth at the World Championships later that year. His most recent marathon was a victory in Shenzhen in December in 2:14:49.
Jacob Kendagor finished fifth in Daegu back in 2014 with a PB of 2:07:53. He bettered that mark in Seoul last year, running 2:07:33, and then went on to place a close second at the Istanbul Marathon in November.
Reuben Kerio has completed just three marathons to date, but he has won two of those and finished second in the other. He set his PB of 2:08:12 in Kosice last year.
Fellow Kenyans Julius Tuwei and Elisha Rotich head to Daegu off the back of PB performances in their most recent marathons. Tuwei ran 2:08:06 in Valencia in November, while Rotich clocked 2:08:58 in Chunchon late last year.
Abrha Milaw will be trying to prevent a Kenyan sweep of the podium. The Ethiopian clocked 2:07:46 at the 2014 Dubai Marathon and won in Stockholm last year in 2:11:36.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF