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Marius Kimutai and defending champion Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya will headline the Vodafone Istanbul Marathon

The Istanbul Marathon is celebrating its 40th birthday this year. As in previous years, the race starts on the Asian side of the city and finishes on the European side at the Hippodrome, one of the oldest race tracks in the world. The favorite to arrive first in the historical peninsula is Kimutai who can boast a 2:05:47 personal best, achieved in Rotterdam two years ago. Having finished his recent seven marathons well under 2:10, the Kenyan is also a candidate to break the 2:10:42 race record set by Kenyan Vincent Kiplagat in 2010, a performance that is also the Turkish all-comers record. Kimutai is likely to be challenged by Ethiopia’s Getu Feleke whose career best is 2:04:50 set at the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon. More recently, Feleke’s clocked 2:07:46 at the Frankfurt Marathon last year. However, 21-year-old Bahraini Abdi Ibrahim Abdo, who has a fresh PB of 2:08:32 from Rome this year, is expected to be a strong contender as well. The field also includes winners of the most recent two editions, 2017 champion Abraham Kiprotich of France and 2016 champion Evans Kiplagat of Azerbaijan. Last year’s runner-up Jacob Kendagor of Kenya also returns. Salah Eddine Bounasr of Morocco will be another athlete to watch. On the women’s side, race record holder Chepngetich returns to defend her title. The Kenyan was a surprise winner in her debut last year, smashing the previous record in 2:22:36. The 24-year-old finished second in 2:22:59 at the Paris Marathon earlier this year. Chepngetich may face tough competition from her compatriots Margaret Agai and Bornes Kitur, with lifetime bests of 2:23:28 and 2:24:19 respectively. The women’s race will also feature Merima Mohammed of Bahrain, and Diana Lobacevske of Lithuania, 17th in Rio Olympic Games. (11/09/2018) ⚡AMP
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