Justin Lagat wrote this piece on Letesenbet Gidey, WR holder at 5000m, 10,000m and the Half Marathon, as she ventures to 26.2 miles this weekend at the Valencia Marathon on December 4, 2022.
As the year that has had a lot of athletic activities slowly come to an end, marathon fans expect to watch a thrilling race on one of the fastest marathon courses in the world when the Trinidad Alfonzo Valencia Marathon happens this weekend on the 4th of December 2022.
While the men’s race, with thirteen runners with personal best times of under 2:07:00, promises to be a less predictable but exciting battle to the last stages of the race, the women’s race, on the other hand, appears to be a one-horse race.
All eyes will be on Ethiopia’s superstar, Letensenbet Gidey, who ran an incredible half marathon world record of 1:02:52 last year in the same city, as she makes her marathon debut.
Gidey -who was interestingly expelled from school for refusing to run in physical education classes- currently holds the women’s world records for the 5000m, the 10,000m, the 15K and the half marathon distances.
As the reigning 10,000m world champion runs on Sunday, fans will be watching the time splits closely in projection for three expected finish times that will be of great interest. 2:17:23 is the world’s fastest women’s debut time for the marathon; 2:17:16 is the women’s course record set by Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir in 2020, and 2:14:04 is the women’s world record.
Among the other big names to watch in the women’s race include three Ethiopian women with personal best times under 2hrs 20 minutes. Sutume Kebede (2:18:12), Tiki Gelana (2:18:58) and Tigist Girma (2:19:52) are the three fastest women on paper.
Sheilah Chepkirui, a 1:04:36 half marathon runner, will be representing Kenya with Monica Ngige (2:22:13) and Fancy Chemutai (2:24:27) Chemutai has an impressive 1:04:52 time in the half marathon distance as well.
The reigning world champion will lead the men’s race. Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola. With his best time of 2:03:39, he is still not the fastest runner on the start list. The fastest is Getaneh Mollah with 2:03:34. There are five other runners in the elite men’s field with times under 2:05:00; Dawit Wolde (2:04:27), Jonathan Korir (2:04:32), Hiskel Tewelde (2:04:35), Chalu Deso (2:04:53) and Gabriel Geay (2:04:55)
Alexander Mutiso of Kenya has a personal best time of 57:59 for the half marathon he ran here less than two years ago and will be an interesting debutant to watch in the men’s race. Philemon Kiplimo, Kelvin Kiptum and Milkesa Menghesa will be the other interesting debutants to watch out for.