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Course Record Under Threat at Shanghai Marathon

Tadu Teshome wins the Copenhagen Half Marathon (© Organisers)

Assaults on both the men’s and women’s course records are expected at the Shanghai Marathon, a World Athletics Platinum Label road race, on Sunday (26).

A total of 12 runners in the men’s field have personal bests inside the 2:07:14 course record set by Kenya’s Paul Lonyangata back in 2015.

Kinde Atanaw of Ethiopia is the fastest entrant courtesy of his 2:03:51 PB set four years ago in Valencia, where he staged a convincing victory in his debut over the classic distance.

The 30-year-old went on to register two sub-2:06 marks in 2021 and 2022 respectively, including a fourth-place finish at the London Marathon last year, but he failed to finish the race in London this year in what has been his only outing of 2023 so far.

Elisha Rotich will lead the Kenyan charge. The 33-year-old won the Paris Marathon two years ago with a career best of 2:04:21 and he also has five other marathon victories to his name, but he has yet to prove his shape so far in 2023.

Ethiopia’s Abayneh Degu, a 2:04:53 performer, will chase his first career marathon title in Shanghai. He clocked 2:08:28 in Osaka in February and finished fifth in China’s Lanzhou in 2:12:57 five months ago.

Fellow Ethiopian Tadu Abate is one of the most in-form runners in the men’s field. He has achieved sub-2:06 results in both of his two races of the year so far, including improving his PB to 2:05:38 to finish sixth in Tokyo.

Like Abate, Kenya’s Enock Onchari will also arrive in Shanghai with high spirits. The 24-year-old achieved his PB of 2:05:47 in Seville in February and celebrated his first-ever marathon victory in 2:07:52 one month later in Wuxi.

The field also includes three other sub-2:06 runners, all from Kenya: Nicholas Kirwa (2:05:01), Moses Kibet (2:05:20) and Eric Kiptanui (2:05:47). The field of local athletes is headed by Jia Erenjia, third-place finisher in Shanghai last year and winner of the 2020 race. He improved his PB to 2:09:54 in Berlin two months ago.

Teshome heads women’s field

In the women’s race, a quintet of sub-2:21 runners will be gunning for the course record of 2:20:36 set by Ethiopian Yebrgual Melese in 2018.

The 22-year-old Tadu Teshome of Ethiopia, owning a PB of 2:17:36, is the favourite in Shanghai. The 2022 Copenhagen Half Marathon champion, who is also a former winner of marathons in Barcelona and Riyadh, achieved her career best mark last year in Valencia. She clocked 2:20:04 to finish fifth last month in Chicago.

Bahrain’s national record-holder Eunice Chumba and Selly Chepyego of Kenya could be the biggest threats to Teshome. The 30-year-old Chumba, a 2:20:02 performer, has remained unbeaten after two races in 2023, clocking 2:20:31 to win in Rotterdam in April and winning the gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou early last month.

Apart from her victory in Hangzhou, Chumba has gained vast experience of winning in China, claiming titles in Dongying and Liupanshui, and at the 2019 Military Games in Wuhan.

Now aged 38, Chepyego is still making progress. The 2014 world half marathon bronze medallist set a PB of 2:20:03 to finish second in Barcelona in March and clocked 2:27:09 to place seventh at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

Other title contenders include Ethiopian Etagegne Woldu, who set her PB of 2:20:03 last year in Valencia, and Eritrea’s Nazret Weldu, who finished eighth, one place behind Chepyego, in 2:27:23 in Budapest. Before that she improved the national record to 2:20:29 to finish fourth at the World Championships in Oregon in July 2022.

Defending champion Zhang Deshun of China is also toeing the line. Last year Zhang produced a 2:28:17 victory in Shanghai. In March, she improved her PB to 2:24:05 to finish fourth in Nagoya before finishing second behind Chumba at the Hangzhou Asian Games in 2:27:55.

Vincent Wu for World Athletics

Elite fields

Tadu Teshome (ETH) 2:17:36
Eunice Chumba (BRN) 2:20:02
Selly Chepyego (KEN) 2:20:03
Etagegne Woldu (ETH) 2:20:03
Nazret Weldu (ERI) 2:20:29
Siranesh Yirga (ETH) 2:21:08
Betty Chepkwony (KEN) 2:23:02
Zhang Deshun (CHN) 2:24:05
Emily Arusio (KEN) 2:25:22
Bai Li (CHN) 2:26:33
Ding Changqin (CHN) 2:26:54
Zhang Xinyan (CHN) 2:26:56
Chernet Misganaw (ETH) 2:27:17
Jackline Sakilu (TAN) 2:37:55
Sandrafelis Chebet Tuei (KEN) debut

Kinde Atanaw (ETH) 2:03:51
Elisha Rotich (KEN) 2:04:21
Abayneh Degu (ETH) 2:04:53
Nicholas Kirwa (KEN) 2:05:01
Moses Kibet (KEN) 2:05:20
Tadu Abate (ETH) 2:05:38
Eric Kiptanui (KEN) 2:05:47
Enock Onchari (KEN) 2:05:47
Kenneth Keter (KEN) 2:06:05
Alphonce Simbu (TAN) 2:06:19
Solomon Kirwa Yego (KEN) 2:06:24
Victor Kipchirchir (KEN) 2:06:54
Philimon Kiptoo Kipchumba (KEN) 2:07:28
Moses Kemei (KEN) 2:09:26
Jia Erenjia (CHN) 2:09:54
Wu Xiangdong (CHN) 2:10:02
Su Guoxiong (CHN) 2:11:28
Sammy Kosgei (KEN) 2:11:54
Nianzhe Ati (CHN) 2:13:14
Guan Yousheng (CHN) 2:13:25
Yang Dinghong (CHN) 2:13:40
Yang Xiaohua (CHN) 2:13:54
Guan Siyang (CHN) 2:13:56
Boki Diriba (ETH) debut
Cameron Avery (NZL) debut