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Elite women’s race preview

2022 TCS London Marathon elite women’s race preview

The elite women’s race at the 2022 TCS London Marathon brings together the highest quality field in the history of the event, including the defending champion and two current world record holders.

Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei returns to defend the title she won in style 12 months ago. She will once again face the world record holder (2:14:04) and two-time London Marathon champion Brigid Kosgei (KEN), as well as world 5K record holder Yalemzerf Yehualaw (ETH), the fastest marathon debutant of all time (2:17:23).

Kosgei suffered from the proximity of the Tokyo Olympic Games marathon to last year’s London Marathon, where she finished fourth and put an end to a run of two straight victories in London. But the world record holder has bounced back strongly in 2022, winning the Tokyo Marathon – the first Abbott World Marathon Major of the year – in 2:16:02, the fastest time in the world this year.

Jepkosgei, by contrast, had a disappointing run at the 2022 Boston Marathon in April when she finished in seventh place (2:24:43). 

Both Kenyans will be fearing Yehualaw, however. The 23-year-old is the current world record holder for 10K (29:14) and the second fastest half marathon runner ever (63:51). She made her marathon debut in Hamburg in April and won in 2:17:23, which was not only the fastest marathon debut ever but also an Ethiopian national record.

An intriguing late entrant to the field is the silver medallist from this year’s World Championships marathon in Oregon, Judith Korir (KEN), while last year’s third-place finisher Ashete Bekere (ETH) also returns.

Leading the British entries is Charlotte Purdue, who was the number one domestic athlete at the London Marathon in both 2019 and 2021. Last year, Purdue finished in 10th place in a personal best of 2:23:26, the fourth fastest time ever achieved by a British athlete. She followed that up with a great run in April’s Boston Marathon, where she finished ninth (2:25:26), but had bad luck with this summer’s World Championships when she caught Covid-19 ahead of her marathon race and had to drop out.

Purdue’s compatriot in Oregon, Rose Harvey, also caught Covid-19 in the USA and did not make it to the finish. Harvey dipped under 2:30 for the first time at London last year (2:29:45) and followed that up by running 2:27:17 in Seville in February.