A cohort of British athletes is poised to challenge their limits at the upcoming Valencia Marathon Trinidad Alfonso on Sunday (Dec 3), eyeing not only personal bests but also aiming to set the stage ablaze with potential record-breaking performances. Among the notable participants are Lily Partridge, Clara Evans, Sonia Samuels, Phil Sesemann, and Mahamed Mahamed. However, the spotlight is firmly fixed on Joshua Cheptegei, the Ugandan sensation who has carved his name in history books with world records in the 5000m and 10,000m disciplines.
Cheptegei, celebrated for his dominance on the track with three world 10,000m titles and Olympic gold in the 5000m, is stepping into uncharted territory as he gears up for his first-ever marathon. Valencia holds a special significance for him, having previously set records there—a world 10km road record in 2019 and a still-standing 10,000m mark in 2020.
Inspired by fellow Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich’s Olympic conquest over the marathon distance, Cheptegei has undergone extensive training and sought mentorship from renowned figures like Eliud Kipchoge. Embracing a humble approach, Cheptegei expresses his eagerness to learn and adapt to the distinct challenges posed by the marathon distance.
Valencia has garnered a reputation for fostering blistering race times, evident from the impressive performances by Kelvin Kiptum and Amane Beriso in last year’s edition. However, Cheptegei faces stiff competition, with the likes of Kenenisa Bekele and a formidable lineup of elite athletes from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Brazil set to vie for victory.
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As anticipation builds for Sunday’s event, the women’s roster boasts an equally stellar lineup, featuring Ethiopian luminaries such as Tsegay Gemechu, Almaz Ayana, and Genzebe Dibaba, among other top contenders.
Marc Roig, representing the Valencia Marathon, underscores the significance of this pre-Olympic event, highlighting the ambitions of several athletes to etch their names in the record books and surpass course milestones.
Among the British contingent, all eyes are on Phil Sesemann and Mahamed Mahamed, while Lily Partridge is aiming for a triumphant return following injury setbacks. Noteworthy entries include seasoned athlete Sonia Samuels and the much-anticipated marathon debut of Lauren Heyes, promising an enthralling spectacle on race day.
The Valencia Marathon Trinidad Alfonso commences at 8:15 am local time this Sunday, offering live coverage for UK viewers on the BBC red button.