One hundred athletes from 43 countries in the Elite Edition are seeking to book their tickets to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

6 November, 2020

The Valencia Marathon Trinidad Alfonso EDP has published the definitive list of the 218 athletes who will compete on 6 December in the city of running to beat the circuit’s current records and get as close as possible to the men’s and women’s world records in the Elite Edition of the event organised by SD Correcaminos and the Ajuntament de València.

The event will be one of the few to be held, after the long break without competitions caused by Covid-19, and in it more than 100 athletes from 43 different countries will race to achieve the Olympic qualifying time (2h11:30 for men and 2h29:30 for women) for participation in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021. In addition, three other athletes will do all they can to ensure their presence at the Paralympic Games, also to be held next summer.

Many of the 100 athletes seeking a place in the Olympics are members of the MyBest42 programme, which began in 2015 under the name Road To Rio in preparation for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which aims to attract as many sub-elite athletes as possible.  Due to the speed of the Valencia circuit and the suspension of marathons around the world, the Elite Edition on 6 December is one of the few options for achieving a validated qualifying time for participation in the Olympics next summer.

In addition, the top ten finishers, both men and women, will obtain – provided they are selected by their federations- direct Olympic classification thanks to the World Athletics regulations for Platinum Label races. This is the first year the Valencia Marathon is being run after being awarded this label and it is one of only 13 races worldwide with this distinction.

The runners hoping to achieve this direct placement by finishing in the top 10 include the following leading athletes selected by Marc Roig: Birhanu Legese (2h02:48), with the third best time in history; Kinde Atanaw (2h03:51), first placed in 2019; Leul Gebreselasie (2h04:02), winner in 2018; Lawrence Cherono (2h04:06); Kaan Kigen Özbilen (2h04:16), European record-holders in the marathon, Lelisa Desisa (2h04:45), current world champion at the distance; and Jemal Yimer, who is expected to shine in his debut at 42.195 kilometres. In total, there are 21 athletes with times under 2h07:00 and 35 with times under 2h10:00.

In the women’s category, the main runners include Ruti Aga (2h18:34), Birhane Dibaba (2H18:35), Degitu Azemiraw (2H19:26), Zeineba Yimer (2H19:28), Tigist Girma (2H19:52) and Mare Dibaba (2H19:52), all with times below 2h20, and the Kenyan Fancy Chemutai, who will debut at the distance.

Other outstanding athletes will also be running including Joyciline Jepkosgei (2h22:38), who in 2017 beat the WR in the Valencian 21K, Joan Chelimo (1h05:24 – 21k) and Peres Jepchirchir (1h05:16), who gained a brand new world record in the half marathon in women-only races in the world championships in Gdynia (Poland) on 17 October. In total, there will be 28 women with registered times below 2h30:00.

Spanish athletes

At the national level, 55 Spanish athletes (33 men and 22 women) have been selected by José Antonio Redolat, the national elite manager, who will take to the starting line on 6 December in search of the qualifying time that takes them to the Olympic Games, set by the RFEA at 2h11:13 in the men’s category.

Those chosen to run through the streets of Valencia will be Hamid Ben Daoud (2h07:33), Ayad Lamdassem (2h09:28), Iván Fernández Anaya (2h09:55), Camilo Santiago (2h10:02), Houssame Eddine Benabbou (2h10:45), Daniel Matthew (2h10:53), Iraitz Arrospide (2h10:59), Juan Antonio ‘Chiki’ Pérez (2h11:50), in addition to the much-anticipated debut by Toni Abbey at the distance.

For its part, the women’s race will see the likes of Marta Galimany (2h29:02), Elena Loyo (2h30:57), Irene Pelayo (2h32:15), Marisa Casanueva (2h32:22), Gema Barrachina (2h33:29) and Alicia Pérez (2h35:17), among others, and the debutantes Teresa Urbina and Nuria Lugueros, for whom great things are expected.

Paralympic athletes

The event will feature participation by three Spanish Paralympic athletes who will be seeking their passport to the Tokyo Paralympic Games. In the men’s category, Alberto Suárez (2h21:47) and Gustavo Nieves (2h26:47) and, in the women’s category, Mari Carmen Paredes (2h59:22) join the list of athletes celebrating the Valencia Marathon Elite Edition, the lifeline for their goals for participating in Tokyo 2021. In the case of these paralympic athletes, the race, once again, has the support of the ‘La Caixa’ Foundation, to help with their inclusion in this event.

Thanks to the support of the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation and the sponsors

This Elite Edition will be possible thanks to the financial support provided by businessman Juan Roig through the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation, which he chairs. The foundation is the main collaborator in both races and is promoting this double high-level appointment within its #EActiVateSport strategy, launched to promote the reactivation of sporting events in Valencia. The loyalty shown by the sponsors and collaborators to the Valencia Marathon and Half Marathon in 2020 has also helped this event take place.

The organisation will create a health bubble around the race and take exceptional safety measures to ensure a great sports event with minimal health risks. The race will have its own medical system, which will include the support of an external consultancy to collect all the data and ensure, if necessary, the traceability of the athletes and people involved in organising the race.

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