Aiyabei favourite at Beijing Marathon
- Valary Jemeli Aiyabei heads to Beijing Marathon on Sunday as the favourite but the Ethiopian pair of Meselech Beyene and Fatuma Sado provide a daunting challenge for the Kenyan
- Beyene is the reigning champion while Sado won the 2014 edition and will both return to the Chinese capital aiming to capture another title
Valary Jemeli Aiyabei heads to Beijing Marathon on Sunday as the favourite but the Ethiopian pair of Meselech Beyene and Fatuma Sado provide a daunting challenge for the Kenyan.
Beyene is the reigning champion while Sado won the 2014 edition and will both return to the Chinese capital aiming to capture another title against a field that also includes two other Ethiopian sub-2:22 runners, Mulu Seboka and Amane Gobena.
However, the focus will be on the fast rising Kenyan Aiyabei who has emerged triumphant in four straight marathons in Eldoret, Barcelona, Valencia and Prague, improving her PB on each occasion.
Her winning marks in Valencia and Prague remains as the course records and she also proved her worth in 2018 with a 2:22:48 clocking in Nagoya where she finish second.
In the men’s race, Tola Dibaba will be the quickest man on the start line thanks to his 2:06:17 PB set in Dubai back in 2012.
The 30-year-old also won the Dusseldorf Marathon with a 2:08:27 clocking the same year, but has been witnessing a title drought since then.
His most recent appearance was a lacklustre 2:19:43 in January in Marrakesh where he just finished 16th.
His countryman Abayneh Ayele, whose PB of 2:06:45 was set in Dubai two years ago, will be running his third race in China this year. He finished second in 2:14:13 at the Chongqing Marathon in March and went on to take third place in Dongying in 2:13:47.
Kenya’s Paul Kios Kangogo is arguably the most in-form man among the starters. He cut almost five minutes from his career best to finish third at the Roma Marathon in 2:09:20 but his consistency remains to be tested on Sunday.
Ethiopia’s Seboka Negusse is also a serious contender as he clocked a winning time of 2:09:44 at the Hannover Marathon in April. Although the mark is 30 seconds shy of his PB set in Amsterdam back in 2015, it was the second time for him to break the 2:10 barrier.
Ethiopia’s Dejene Debela is another man to watch. He owns a PB of 2:07:10 from his fourth place finish in Eindhoven last year.
Debela started the 2018 season with a 2:11:22 victory in Xiamen, the first title of his career over the classic distance.
The 38th edition of Beijing Marathon will be his third race this year as he also achieved a seventh place finish at the Roma Marathon in 2:12:01 in April.
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