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Race news Türkiye İş Bankası İstanbul Marathon

13 October 2023, 11am

Reuben Kipyego and Beatrice Cheptoo hope to repeat success of world champions Chepngetich and Kiplangat

Who emerges next in Istanbul?

Türkiye İş Bankası İstanbul Marathon
Sun 5 November 2023

Kipkemboi robert ist 22

It was the Istanbul Marathon that provided the platform for two current stars to significantly propel their marathon careers forward. Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich and Victor Kiplangat of Uganda both ran their debuts and won them in Istanbul in 2017 and 2021 respectively.

The two then went on to become world marathon champions: Chepngetich took the gold in 2019 in Doha and Kiplangat triumphed in Budapest this August. Could the next edition of the Türkiye Is Bankasi Istanbul Marathon on 5th November produce another future star runner? While Kenyans Reuben Kipyego and Beatrice Cheptoo head the current start lists with strong personal bests of 2:03:55 and 2:22:28 respectively, compatriot Moses Koech and Rachael Chebet of Uganda are promising debutants.

Including races at shorter distances, a total of 45,000 runners are expected to take part in the 45th edition of the Türkiye Is Bankasi Istanbul Marathon. Around 4,500 of them will run the classic distance. Turkey’s major marathon race features a unique course over two continents, starting in Asia and finishing in Europe. It is a Gold Label Road Race of World Athletics. Online entry is still available until 16th October at:

With a world-class time of 2:03:55 Reuben Kipyego is the fastest runner ever entered into the Istanbul Marathon. The 27 year-old Kenyan achieved his personal best in Milan where he was runner-up in 2021. Additionally Kipyego has run a couple of more strong marathons. Among those is his third place in Rotterdam with 2:05:12 in 2022. It will be the first time the Kenyan competes in Istanbul and he will face a tough field.

Ethiopia’s Gadise Shumie currently is the second fastest runner on the start list with a PB of 2:04:59. With this time he won the Sevilla Marathon earlier this year, improving his former personal best by well over four minutes. Although already 31 years old his international career only begun two years ago, when Shumie won his debut marathon in Montreal with 2:09:25. He will travel to Istanbul unbeaten in the marathon so far.

Knowing the Istanbul course can be of significant advantage, especially with regard to the tough uphill stretch in the final section. It was here where Robert Kipkemboi dropped his last remaining rival a year ago and went on to win the race in 2:10:18. The defending champion from Kenya, who has a PB of 2:07:09, will return to the Türkiye Is Bankasi Istanbul Marathon. Compatriot Moses Koech looks promising among a number of debutants. He has run a 59:31 half marathon in Ostia, Italy, last year.

With regard to her international career Beatrice Cheptoo can still be considered a newcomer. The 30 year-old Kenyan ran her first race outside Kenya less than 24 months ago, when she finished third in Malaga with 2:25:20. A year ago she took the Melbourne marathon and in January Cheptoo then improved significantly to 2:22:28 when she was third in Doha. With this time the Kenyan currently is the fastest woman in the field and taking into account her strong development she is a strong favorite in Istanbul.

Just 23 years old, Sifan Melaku is still very young for a marathon runner. When the Ethiopian clocked her PB of 2:23:49 in Seville over three years ago she had just turned 20. This summer Melaku showed fine form when she won the Stockholm Marathon. Another debutante who could shine in the Türkiye Is Bankasi Istanbul Marathon is Rachel Chebet. The Ugandan, who will celebrate her 27th birthday on the race day, has a strong cross country background. In 2019 she was fourth in the World Championships. A half marathon PB of 68:46 from earlier this year indicates that she should be ready for a good marathon debut.

For Rachel Chebet as well as Turkey’s Sultan Haydar qualification for the Olympic Games in 2024 is probably the main goal. Haydar, who holds the national record with 2:24:44 from 2015, started a comeback a year ago. Now 36 years old she recently showed improved form with a 69:12 half marathon in Ankara. Sultan Haydar may well be able to break the Olympic qualifying standard of 2:26:50 on 5th November in Istanbul.

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