Athletics Athletics

Chesir back to defend Singapore marathon

Rebecca Kangogo Chesir wins the Singapore Marathon (Organisers) © Copyright

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 1 – Kenyans Cyprian Kotut and Rebecca Chesir lead their respective fields at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday.

Chesir returns to the southeast Asian island city-state to defend her title in the women’s race. Running in warm conditions after an early 04:30 start, Chesir won last year’s edition by more than a minute in 2:43:03.

But the 25-year-old has run considerably faster several times in her career, topped by a 2:24:25 run in Vienna last April where she finished second. More recently, she finished second in Beijing in September, clocking 2:30:31.

Others expected in the chase are her compatriots Peninah Arusei and Pamela Rotich. Arusei, 38, set her 2:27:17 best back in 2011, but has remained competitive, finishing second at the Warsaw Half Marathon in March in 1:11:31 and third at the Hengshui Marathon in September clocking 2:30:58.

Rotich meanwhile won her only marathon outing of the year, clocking a lifetime best 2:27:48 in Daegu in April.

In the men’s race, Kotut leads a solid field. The Kenyan won the Paris Marathon last year in 2:07:11, his lifetime best. He followed up with a solid third place showing in Frankfurt six months later, clocking 2:07:28.

But the 25-year-old has raced just once since, a modest 1:03:53 outing at the Paris Half Marathon last March, leaving a question mark over his current form.

His compatriot Jonah Chesum has better momentum at the moment. The 28-year-old won the Barcelona Marathon in March in his debut over the distance, clocking 2:08:57. He followed up with a 2:10:47 run in Gold Coast in July where he finished fifth.

Evergreen Mark Kiptoo is also in the field, the 41-year-old Kenyan whose 2:06:00 lifetime best from 2015 is the fastest among the entrants. Most recently, Kiptoo clocked 2:10:45 in April’s Paris Marathon where he was 14th.

Dereje Debele will lead the Ethiopian charge. The 31-year-old has a 2:07:48 personal best, which dates back to his victory in Dusseldorf in 2013. He was second in Oita this past February in 2:10:23. He’ll be joined by compatriot Abebe Negewo, the 2015 Rome Marathon winner who has a 2:08:46 best.

The women’s race record of 2:31:55, set by Salina Kosgei, dates back more than a decade to 2016. The men’s record stands at 2:11:25, set by Luke Kibet in 2009.