April 20, 2013
We don’t have much time before Sunday’s Virgin London Marathon so our women’s preview has got to be quick.
The race is stacked. Not as stacked as the men’s race, which we’re calling the strongest men’s field ever assembled, but stacked.
Four sub 2:20 women and ten under 2:25.
World #1 and Olympic Champ Gelana
Let’s start at the top. The world’s #1 in the marathon, Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia is in the field. Gelana burst onto the scene with a 2:18:58 in Rotterdam a year ago and then followed that up with a win at the Olympics.
Being the Olympic champion and the fastest woman in the field, Gelana has to be the favorite.
Last year’s London champion Mary Keitany is out this year on maternity leave, pregnant with her second child.
Edna Kiplagat of Kenya has been on a roll since 2010 when she won New York. She followed that up in 2011 by winning the World Championships in Korea, and then proved last year in London she could run fast on a flat course as she was second in 2:19:50.
Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya has never won a major marathon but she’s come close. She was second at the World Champs in 2011, third in London last year, and second at the Olympics. She comes into this race having run a blistering PR of 1:06:11 in the UAE in February. The only thing to not like about her is she hasn’t won a Major before.
If you’re a betting type and want to wager on the race, Florence Kiplagat might be the one to put your money on. Paddypower.com has her as the 4th favorite at 11/2. Kiplagat’s credentials are nearly impeccable across the board. She’s run 30:11 for 10k, she’s won the World Half Marathon championships, and in her DEBUT marathon she ran 2:19:44 in Berlin in 2011 for the win.
Kiplagat’s only other marathon was for fourth last year in London’s stacked field. That’s a good enough effort to win most marathons. Her problem is she’s racing in London again this year. She comes into the race fit, having run 1:07:13 for the half in the UAE in February.
Atsede Bayisa is another to watch. She won in Chicago last year and ran a 1:07:33 half marathon pr in her build up here. She’ll have to step up in class to win here as a 2:22 type effort is not good enough to win.
Meselech Melkamu of Ethiopia is a darkhorse pick. A sub 30 minute runner on the track she ran 2:21:01 to win her debut in Frankfurt last fall.
LRC Analysis: Gelana is the one to beat, but this is a marathon so at least half the time she won’t win. If Gelana falters expect Jeptoo to pick up her first big win. And while Melkamu could be a darkhorse pick here, if you’re going to go with the runner with good track credentials and a great marathon debut, then we say you pick Florence Kiplagat instead of Melkamu.
Picks: Gelana, Jeptoo, Kiplagat.
London Mens Coverage: LRC Men’s Race Preview: The Greatest Men’s Field Ever Assembled
*Men’s Pre Race Video
Dave Bedford Breaks Down the Field in 1:50
Women’s Pre Race Video
Olympic Silver Medallist Priscah Jeptoo
World Champion Edna Kiplagat