Peter Kimeli Some and Mulu Seboka are the fastest and most experienced runners on the entry lists for the Shenzhen Marathon, but they will line up against strong opponents at the IAAF Bronze Label road race today.
It has been four years since Some set his personal best of 2:05:38 to win at the 2013 Paris Marathon. Although that remains his only sub-2:07 time to date, the 27-year-old Kenyan is still competitive and finished second at the Daegu Marathon in April in 2:09:22.
Based on today’s performances, compatriot Edwin Kimaiyo is slightly quicker than Some, but his personal best of 2:09:12 was set just one month ago in Shanghai so he may not be running on fresh legs in Shenzhen. This is Kimaiyo’s eighth season as a marathon runner, but he is yet to win a race over the classic distance.
Ethiopia’s Samuel Demie has also been in PB form this year, clocking 2:09:44 in Rabat back in March. The 31-year-old has made it on to the podium in six of his eight career marathons.
Tewelde Estifanos is another experienced performer. He represented Eritrea in the marathon at last year’s Olympic Games and finished ninth at the 2012 World Half Marathon Championships. He set his PB of 2:09:16 in 2015, the same year in which he won the Beppu-Oita Marathon, and has a best this year of 2:13:38.
Seboka might not be in the kind of form that took her to a 2:21:56 PB in Dubai in 2015, but the former Jakarta, Dubai, Daegu and Toronto marathon winner has run two sub-2:30 marathons this season. The 33-year-old clocked 2:29:17 to finish seventh in Prague in May and 2:29:55 to finish fourth in Istanbul last month.
Fellow Ethiopian Aberash Fayesa Robi is the fastest of the women’s field based on 2017 times. The 22-year-old clocked a PB of 2:27:04 to finish third in Barcelona in March, while more recently she ran a half marathon PB of 1:11:35 in October.
The favourite, though, could be someone who has contested just one marathon to date. Kyrgyzstan’s Daria Maslova won the 5000m and 10,000m at this year’s Asian Championships, then competed at the World Championships in London before winning the World University Games title over 10,000m.
Maslova ran 2:38:47 in a low-key marathon last year, but her PBs of 15:00.42 for 5000m, 31:36.90 for 10,000m and 1:11:06 for the half marathon suggest she is capable of significantly improving her marathon PB.
Compatriot Viktoria Poliudina is also set to compete. The 28-year-old represented Kyrgyzstan in the marathon at last year’s Olympics and this year’s World Championships. Three weeks after running in London, she clocked a PB of 2:37:45 in Astana.