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The 24-year-old Beyene enjoyed a comfortable solo lead in the final 10 kilometers en route to her 2:27:44 victory last year, one minute shy of her personal best set six months earlier in Barcelona. It will be the third race of the year for Beyene following a third place finish in Houston with a season’s best of 2:27:21 in January and a second place showing at the Vienna City Marathon in 2:29:51 three months later. Beyene will once again face a deep field in Beijing, as she did here last year, which includes several sub-2:25 runners including the 26-year-old Sado. The Ethiopian achieved her career best of 2:24:16 at the 2015 Toronto Waterfront Marathon, one year after her 2:30:03 victory in Beijing, where she ended a 22-year winning streak by local runners in the women’s race. Although she failed to dip under the 2:30 the past two years, Sado proved her competitiveness in Xiamen this January as she shrugged off the heavy rain and overcame a stomach problem in the latter stages to win her second title there in 2:26:41. Beyene and Sado are more familiar with the course that stretches from the landmark Tian’anmen Square and ends outside the National Stadium, better known as the “Birds Nest”, but the top favorite should be Kenya’s Valary Jemeli Aiyabei. The 27-year-old is the fastest woman on paper with a career best of 2:20:53 from her third finish at the 2017 Berlin Marathon. Prior to that performance in the German capital, the rising Kenyan emerged triumphant in four straight marathons in Eldoret, Barcelona, Valencia and Prague, improving her PB on each occasion. Her winning marks in Valencia and Prague remains as the course records and she also proved her worth in 2018 with a 2:22:48 clocking in Nagoya where she finish second. The field also includes two sub-2:22 runners, Mulu Seboka and Amane Gobena, who are both from Ethiopia. Gobena recorded her PB of 2:21:51 in Tokyo two years ago while Seboka set her lifetime best of 2:21:56 in Dubai in 2015. The duo will both arrive in Beijing with high spirits following their newly claimed titles this year in Mumbai and Dalian respectively. (09/15/2018) Views: 1,500 ⚡AMP
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