Two former winners of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon will return to the IAAF Gold Label Road Race on Sunday (4).
Kenyan veteran Kenneth Mungara, who won in Singapore in 2010 and 2014, will take on 2012 winner Kennedy Kiptoo Lilan as they bid to add another title to their resume.
Although both men set their personal bests in 2011, they are still capable of winning international marathons. Mungara, now 43, successfully defended his Gold Coast Marathon title earlier this year in 2:09:00. He set a season’s best of 2:08:38 when finishing third in Milan in April, making him the fastest in the field based on this year’s form.
Lilan’s PB is somewhat slower at 2:11:36, but he came within five seconds of that mark when finishing third in Zhengzhou earlier this year. Since that race, he has won three marathons this year, all of which were in Asia.
Three other Kenyans with sub-2:10 PBs are in the field. Robert Kiplimo won the 2015 Padua Marathon in 2:09:32 and more recently won the Nairobi Marathon in 2:13:27 at altitude. Willy Kotile Kibor, a previous winner in Shanghai, Sydney and Cape Town, and compatriot Cosmas Mutuku Kyeva, winner of three marathons in Poland this year, could also be in contention.
Kenyan men have won the past 14 editions of this race and it is a trend that looks set to continue. But Belgium’s 41-year-old Abdelhadi El Hachimi, who clocked a PB of 2:10:35 when finishing third at this year’s Gold Coast Marathon, has the potential to break the dominance.
Ukrainian veteran Sergey Lebid, who ran 2:11:05 in Ljubljana at the end of October, is also on the start list, but he failed to finish at the recent Cape Town and Valencia marathons and so may not be a serious challenger in Singapore.
While there’s a strong chance of a repeat men’s winner in Singapore, a new champion will be crowned in the women’s race as no former winners are entered.
Peninah Arusei, who finished a close second in Singapore last year, will return to Singapore hoping to go one better. The Kenyan’s PB of 2:27:17 dates back to her marathon debut in Vienna in 2011, but the 2009 world half-marathon bronze medallist came close to that when finishing second in Warsaw this year in 2:29:21.
Compatriot Jane Kiptoo just missed out on the podium in Singapore last year, finishing fourth. A 2:31:21 runner at her best, she triumphed in Geneva earlier this year in a season’s best of 2:35:04.
But the big danger could come from Rebecca Kangogo Chesir, whose PB of 2:25:22 makes her the fastest in the field. Her season’s best of 2:28:54, set when finishing third in Toronto, also makes her the fastest on this year’s form.
Others in the field include Japan’s 2009 Tokyo Marathon champion Mizuho Nasukawa, Ethiopia’s Hirut Alemayehu and Kenya’s Beatrice Cherop.
Belarusian Volha Mazuronak, who finished fifth at this year’s Olympics, and Ukraine’s Olena Burkovska are both on the start list. They were also entered for last year’s race, though, but did not take part in the race.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF