Course record-holders Yebrgual Melese and Paul Lonyangata, will return to the Shangai Marathon this weekend

Ethiopia’s Melese won comfortably last year, taking more than a minute off the course record with 2:20:36.

A past winner of the Houston and Prague marathons, Melese set a PB of 2:19:36 when finishing third in Dubai last year, but her form in 2019 hasn’t been quite so good. The 29-year-old finished 11th in Tokyo in March in 2:31:40 but last month clocked a promising 1:09:02 at the Lisbon Half Marathon.

Fellow Ethiopian Waganesh Mekasha is another title contender. The 27-year-old reduced her PB by more than three minutes to finish fourth in Dubai in January in 2:22:45 and went on to clock 2:23:19 at the Yellow River Estuary International Marathon in Dongying seven months ago.

The Ethiopian contingent also includes Fantu Jimma, a 32-year-old with a PB of 2:26:14 set four years ago in Xiamen. It will be Jimma’s fourth marathon of the year, having won in Wuhan in 2:28:25 and finished third in Xiamen and Lanzhou. She was also victorious at the Changzhou West Taihu Lake Half Marathon last month.

Lonyangata is among the main favorites in the men’s race. The 26-year-old Kenyan set his PB of 2:06:10 when winning the 2017 Paris Marathon, the first of two victories in the French capital. He set the Shanghai course record of 2:07:14 in 2015 and has a season’s best of 2:07:29, set when finishing third in Paris.

Bahrain’s Hassan El Abbassi is another top contender. The 35-year-old, who set his marathon PB of 2:04:43 in Valencia last year, is the 2014 Asian Games 10,000m champion and 2018 Asian Games marathon silver medalist. More recently he finished seventh in the marathon at the World Championships in Doha in 2:11:44 but is still in pursuit of his first international marathon title.

Kipsang Kipkemoi will compete in China for the first time in his career. The 29-year-old Kenyan clocked his PB of 2:08:26 in Seville in 2017 and came close to that in April when he finished second in Madrid with 2:08:58. Sunday’s race will be his fourth marathon of the year as he has also competed in Mumbai and Cape Town but didn’t better 2:10 on either occasion.

Other sub-2:10 runners in the field include Kenya’s 2011 world silver medalist Vincent Kipruto and Ernest Ngeno, a 2:06:41 performer who finished second in Shanghai two years ago.

posted Friday November 15th
by World Athletics