The fall marathon season provides a multitude of fascinating plotlines and stories for NN Running Team athletes. We take a look at some of the key races and what to look out for over the coming months.
BMW Berlin Marathon – September 24
Perhaps no race has quite defined the career of NN Running Team icon Eliud Kipchoge as the Berlin Marathon. A four-time former winner and two-time world record-setter on the course, some of the Kenyan legend’s most glittering accomplishments were set on the streets of the German capital.
In some respects the marathon legend was born in his first victory in Berlin eight years ago when defying all logic he clinched a momentous win despite the insoles hanging loose from his shoes for much of the race.
In 2017 he returned to defeat a spirited challenge in the rain from Ethiopian Guye Adola before the next year obliterating the world record by a staggering one minute and 18 seconds, to lower the mark to 2:01:39. Twelve months ago - in the race regarded as “the world’s fastest marathon” - he sliced a further 30 seconds from this mark, securing his fourth Berlin title.
Aiming to bounce back from his sixth-place finish in Boston in April, the great man will be pursuing a record-breaking fifth Berlin Marathon victory.
In the women’s field, Zeineba Yimer of Ethiopia will be making her Berlin Marathon debut. After winning the Barcelona Marathon earlier this year in a new course record, Yimer will be determined to run another strong race in the German capital.
Bank of America Chicago Marathon – October 8
A strong group of athletes from the NN Running Team descend on the Windy City for the fifth annual Abbot World Marathon Majors of the calendar year optimistic of mounting a podium bid.
The challengers are led by former world 1500m champion and multiple world-record-breaking track athlete Genzebe Dibaba, who showed her ability over the 42.2km distance by placing second on her marathon debut in Amsterdam last October, clocking 2:18:05.
In the men’s race, the NN Running Team boasts a pair of emerging talents in the shape of Ethiopian Huseyidin Mohamed and Daniel Mateiko of Kenya.
Running just his third marathon in Chicago, Huseyidin has shown great pedigree over the 42.2km distance running 2:05:05 to place fifth in Amsterdam last year before finishing second in the Tokyo Marathon this year in 2:05:22.
Sitting ninth on the all-time half marathon list with a PB of 58:26 and boasting five career sub-59-minute half-marathon times, the marathon debut of Daniel on the streets of Chicago is also keenly anticipated.
TCS Amsterdam Marathon – October 15
The annual race in the Dutch capital has traditionally proved a happy hunting ground for NN Running Team athletes and the hope is it will once again prove the case in the 2023 edition.
In the women’s elite race, Olympic qualification will be the name of the game for European marathon bronze medalist Nienke Brinkman. The 29-year-old, who set her PB of 2:22:51 in Rotterdam last year, will be chasing the 2:26:50 standard in her qualification quest for the Paris Olympics.
Another interesting plotline is the return of 2019 Amsterdam Marathon winner Degitu Azimeraw following childbirth. The Ethiopian is a quality performer and boasts a PB of 2:17:58, posted when second in the 2021 London Marathon.
In the men’s event, the fourth fastest marathon runner in history Birhanu Legese will be seeking a strong showing. The Ethiopian boasts a formidable pedigree as a two-time Tokyo Marathon winner with a PB of 2:02:48 and should not be discounted.
TCS New York Marathon – November 5
The NN Running Team boasts a stellar cast of names for the sixth and final Abbot World Marathon Majors event of the calendar year led by Geoffrey Kamworor who is bidding for this third victory in ‘The Big Apple.’
The Kenyan triumphed in New York in 2017 and 2019 and after also claiming podiums in 2015 (second) and 2018 (third) he is confident of another top performance in the iconic race, which winds its way through all five New York City boroughs.
Joining Geoffrey on the start line is Maru Teferi, who recently secured an outstanding silver medal in the World Championships marathon in Budapest. The Israeli is a star on the rise and after also taking European marathon silver last year it will fascinating to see how he fares in New York.
Further bolstering the NN Running Team challenge in ‘The Big Apple’ is 2020 Olympic silver medalist Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands. Abdi finished third in the 2022 New York City Marathon and will be looking to upgrade that performance.
Leading the women’s contenders is Letesenbet Gidey, who is set for her second-ever marathon appearance. The Ethiopian, who holds the world record for the 10,000m and half marathon, scorched to a stunning 2:16:49 on her marathon debut in Valencia last year – a mark which currently places her seventh on the all-time list. However, Letesenbet has also had some challenging races these past years where she was faced with the brutality of athletics. She hopes to bounce back in New York.
Also entered is Lonah Salpeter of Israel, the 2022 World Championships bronze medalist, who last month finished fourth in the marathon at the most recent edition of the World Championships in Budapest. Look out too for 2022 London Marathon winner Yalemzerf Yehualaw of Ethiopia, who finished one place behind Salpeter in the Hungarian capital.
Maraton Valencia Trinidad Alfonso – December 3
Rarely has a marathon debut been quite so keenly anticipated than that of Joshua Cheptegei. Fresh off a third successive World 10,000m title, which he clinched in style in Budapest, the Ugandan distance running wizard now turns his hands to taming the marathon distance on one of the world’s fastest courses.
Joshua, the world 5000m and 10,000m record-holder, has set world road records over 5km, 10km, and 15km and has a half marathon PB of 59:21, when fourth at the World Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia. Having run two of his world records in Valencia makes the city extra special to the Ugandan athlete who is aiming for a solid marathon debut.
A former world cross country champion and Tokyo 2020 Olympic 5000m gold medalist there is very little the 26-year-old has not achieved in the endurance world but the marathon will be a whole new frontier and making his debut in a World Athletics Platinum Label event he will face formidable opposition.
Expect more NN Running Team names to be confirmed for the Maraton Valencia Trinidad Alfonso in the coming weeks.
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