World Championships set to kick off in South Korea.
Written by: David Monti
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
DAEGU — The 13th running of the IAAF World Championships Marathon for women takes place here tomorrow morning, and the 55 women on the start list will be battling the soaking humidity as much as each other for the medals.
Like the last world championships marathon in Berlin, the athletes will neither start nor finish the race in the main stadium. Instead, they will both begin and end their 42.195-kilometer trek in the Gukchae-bosang Memorial Park in downtown. The course is comprised of two 15-kilometer loops, followed by a 12.195 kilometer circuit. According to IAAF officials, the course is basically flat, with a total of just 20 meters in elevation changes.
Teams from the Big Four –China, Ethiopia, Japan and Kenya– will probably dominate the race, and are most likely to generate the individual medalists. Some likely contenders for the podium are:
* Edna Kiplagat (KEN) 2:20:46: She was the surprise winner of the ING New York City Marathon last year, then came back to finish third at the Virgin London Marathon last April in a very quick 2:20:46.
* Sharon Cherop (KEN) 2:22:43: She finished third at last April’s Boston Marathon, after running a Canadian all-comers record at Toronto last September (2:22:43).
* Aselefech Mergia (ETH) 2:22:38: She won the bronze medal in these championships in 2009, finished third in London in 2010 (2:22:38 PB), and won in Dubai in January, 2011, in 2:22:45.
* Atsede Baysa (ETH) 2:22:04: She finished fifth at London this year (2:23:50), and won Paris in 2010 in 2:22:04.
* Yoshimi Ozaki (JPN) 2:23:30: The silver medalist from these championships in 2009, she won last February’s Yokohama Marathon in 2:23:56.
* Zhu Xiaolin (CHN) 2:23:57: She won the silver medal at the Asian Games in 2010, and was fifth in these championships in 2009
In addition to the individual medals on the line, the race also incorporates a team competition, the World Cup, which is scored on the total time of the three highest finishing athletes from each nation. The complete startlist is attached.