Why Mary Keitany’s 7-year record is under threat at the 2024 London Marathon

6th March 2024

The 2024 London Marathon will take place on Sunday 21 April.

PHOTO| London Marathon
PHOTO| London Marathon
  • Keitany set the record of 2:17:01 in a women-only race at the 2017 London Marathon.
  • Five competitors in this year's London event have gone faster than Keitany's mark in mixed races.
  • They include Kosgei (2:14:04) and Chepngetich (2:14:18) from Kenya as well as Ethiopia's Ketema (2:16:07) and Ayana (2:16:22).

The women’s only marathon world record is expected to fall at the 2024 London Marathon slated for Sunday, April 21.

This is after the organizers of the marathon assembled a star-studded lineup that has the likes of the women’s marathon record holder Tigist Assefa from Ethiopia and four of the best Kenyan road race runners to attack the record set by Mary Keitany in 2017.

“Three of the top four fastest women in history will spearhead a charge to set a new women’s-only world record at the 2024 TCS London Marathon. 

The challenge will be led by Ethiopia’s Tigst Assefa, who became the new world record holder when she ran an incredible 2:11:53 at last September’s BMW Berlin Marathon, obliterating the previous best mark of 2:14:04 set by Brigid Kosgei (KEN) in 2019,” read part of the statement from the London Marathon.

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Tigist will battle it out for the top prize alongside one-time Olympic Games champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya and her compatriots Joyciline Jepkosgei and Ruth Jepngetich.

The latter won the 2019 World Athletics Championships title and has been one of the most consistent female marathoners since then.

On the other hand, Jepkosgei triumphed at the London Marathon in 2021 and she has also managed to win the coveted New York City marathon in the past.

The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) runner heads to London with a personal best of 2:17.23 set at the 2023 Chicago Marathon.

Former marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei, who has a personal best of 2:14.04, is also expected to be in the mix.

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Some of the other athletes who have been confirmed for the eagerly anticipated race include Sheila Chepkirui and the Ethiopian trio of Almaz Ayana, Tigist Ketema and Megertu Alemu.

Race director Hugh Brasher is confident that Keitany’s world record will be broken at this year’s edition.

“We are in a golden age of women’s marathon running. When Paula Radcliffe ran her incredible world record of 2:15:25 at the 2003 London Marathon, we had to wait 16 years for Brigid Kosgei to beat it.

I suspect that with Assefa, Kosgei and the likes of Ruth Chepngetich, Peres Jepchirchir and Yalemzerf Yehualaw in the field and where a total of ten women have run under 2 hours 17 minutes and 30 seconds, Keitany’s world record is going to be under serious threat at the 2024 TCS London Marathon,” he stated.

Apart from Assefa, four other competitors in this year's London event have gone faster than Keitany's mark in mixed races, where they benefit from groups of fast men acting as windbreaks, including Kosgei (2:14:04) and Chepngetich (2:14:18) as well as Ethiopia's Ketema (2:16:07) and Ayana (2:16:22).

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Some of the 2024 London Marathon women’s entries

Tigist Assefa – Ethiopia – PB (2:11.53 WR)

Brigid Kosgei – Kenya – PB (2:14.04)

Ruth Chepngetich – Kenya – PB (2:14.18)

Sheila Chepkirui – Kenya – PB (2:17.29)

Peres Jepchirchir – Kenya – PB (2:17.16)

Joyciline Jepkosgei – Kenya – PB (2:17.23)

Tigist Ketema – Ethiopia – PB (2:16.07)

Almaz Ayana – Ethiopia – PB (2:16.22)

Megertu Alemu – Ethiopia – PB (2:17.09)

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