A slew of sub-2:30 women have come from far and wide to race in New York on Sunday.
It’s impossible to count on two hands the number of women with sub-2:30 marathon personal bests on the starting line of this Sunday’s ING New York City Marathon. What does this mean? There’s potential for fireworks.
Reigning champion Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia returns as does former champion and two-time reigning world champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya. London Marathon champion and Olympic silver medalist Priscah Keptoo will also be in the hunt for victory as will New York-based Ethiopian Buzunesh Deba, who finished second in New York in 2011. Sub-2:24 runners Valeria Straneo of Italy, Jelena Prokopcuka (two-time NYC Marathon champion) and Risa Shigetomo of Japan also figure to be in the mix, along with host of other mid-to-high 2:20 women who are all hoping for a breakthrough.
Here’s a look at the top-5 international women to watch in this year’s race. Later this week, we’ll take separate looks at the top American men and women.
1. Firehiwot Dado (Ethiopia)
Dado, 29, enters the race as the reigning champion. She ran 2:23:12 to win in 2011, holding off countrywoman Buzunesh Deba and Kenyan Mary Keitany in the final miles. Dado finished fourth at Boston in 2012 but has been relatively quiet in 2013. Photo: PhotoRun.net
2. Buzunesh Deba (Ethiopia)
In 2011 Deba, who lives and trains in the Bronx, came oh-so-close to winning in New York, running a personal best 2:23:15 to finish a close second to Firehiwot Dado. In her career, Deba has won six marathons and she'd love to add New York to her resume. Photo: PhotoRun.net
3. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya)
Kiplagat is the two-time reigning world champion and won this race in 2010. She's the fastest woman in the field with a 2:19:50 personal best, and is enjoying a successful year of racing, which included her second marathon world championship in Moscow in August. Kiplagat will have a close eye on countrywoman Priscah Jeptoo, who she will battle with not only for the race win, but also a World Marathon Majors series victory. Photo: PhotoRun.net
4. Priscah Jeptoo (Kenya)
The only woman in the field who has the speed to match Kiplagat, Jeptoo is the reigning London Marathon champion with a 2:20 personal best and an Olympic silver medal to her credit. She's shown she knows how to perform on a big stage, and it doesn't get any bigger than New York in November. She and Kiplagat will not only battle for the win, but also the top spot in the World Marathon Majors competition. Photo: PhotoRun.net
5. Kim Smith (New Zealand)
Smith isn't even amongst the 5 fastest women in the field, but she's a 2:25 marathoner who has shown she's not afraid to lead the race from the gun. Smith, who won her second straight B.A.A. Distance Medley crown with a 1:09:14 half-marathon win just a couple weeks ago, will likely be one of the early aggressors and it wouldn't be a total shocker to see her in the hunt for victory coming into Central Park. Photo: PhotoRun.net