London Marathon 2016 elite women’s field announced

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Following an impressive debut last year, Tigist Tufa has confirmed she will be back to defend her title at the 2016 Virgin London Marathon. The second Ethiopian ever to claim the women’s title, Tufa performed a nail-biting sprint finish in the final three miles of last year’s race, beating two-time winner Mary Keitany by just one second.

The 28-year-old will return to the scene of her greatest win this Sunday 24 April and race against Keitany once again. But with no less than nine women in the elite field boasting sub 2:22 PBs and five of those under 2:20, it’s set to be one hell of a race.

'Winning in London was the greatest moment in my career so far,' said Tufa, who won the Shanghai and Ottawa marathons in 2014. 'I am happy to be returning to London in 2016 to defend my title. I know it won’t be easy because the London fields are always the best in the world, but I am determined to do my best again.'

The fourth fastest female marathoner in history with a 2:18:37 PB, Keitany will be Tufa’s biggest rival on the day, but with reigning world marathon champion Mare Dibaba making her London debut, competition is set to be fierce.

Meanwhile 2015 Berlin Marathon champion Gladys Cherono will also be making her London debut, and last year’s Chicago Marathon winner and world half-marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat is set to return for a stab at the top spot.

London 2010 champion and three-time winner of the Dubai Marathon Aselefech Mergia is also one to watch. The five-strong Kenyan challenge is completed by Priscah Jeptoo, the Olympic bronze medallist who won London three years ago and Jemima Sumgong, a former Rotterdam Marathon champion who came sixth in 2015, one place ahead of Jeptoo.

The European challenge includes Portugal’s Jessica Augusto and Volha Mazuronak from Belarus. Among those battling for GB places for Rio will be Sonia Samuels and Alyson Dixon, who both already have the qualifying standard having run respective PBs of 2:28:04 and 2:29:30 at the Berlin Marathon last September.

Freya Ross, Louise Damen and Susan Partridge are also among the athletes announced for the event, while Charlotte Purdue is set to make her marathon debut and Jessica Coulson again steps up after taking on the distance at the Frankfurt Marathon last year. 

Hugh Brasher, Virgin Money London Marathon Event Director, said: 'Tigist Tufa showed last year that predictions mean nothing in marathon racing when she beat all the favourites with a thrilling victory.

'This year’s line-up is no less exciting with five members of the prestigious sub-2:20 club all set to challenge the champion. With the Rio Olympics around the corner providing an extra incentive to all the elite runners, it is set to be another race to remember.'

Virgin Money London Marathon 2016 women’s elite field and personal bests:

Tigist Tufa (ETH) 2:21:52

Mary Keitany (KEN) 2:18:37

Gladys Cherono (KEN) 2:19:25

Aselefech Mergia (ETH) 2:19:31

Florence Kiplagat (KEN) 2:19:44

Mare Dibaba (ETH) 2:19:52

Priscah Jeptoo (KEN) 2:20:14

Feyse Tadese (ETH) 2:20:27

Jemima Sumgong (KEN) 2:20:48

Jessica Augusto (POR) 2:24:25

Volha Mazuronak (BLR) 2:25:36

Rkia El Moukim (MAR) 2:26:33

Diana Lobacevske (LTU) 2:28:03

Sonia Samuels (GBR) 2:28:04

Freya Ross (GBR) 2:28:10

Alyson Dixon (GBR) 2:29:30

Louise Damen (GBR) 2:30:00

Susan Partridge (GBR) 2:30:46

Irvette Van Blerk (RSA) 2:31:26

Cassie Fien (AUS) 2:38:53

Jess Coulson (GBR) Debut

Charlotte Purdue (GBR) Debut

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