Defending champions Workneh Tesfa and Mestawet Tufa, both from Ethiopia, have returned to the Chinese city of Dongying and will be looking to notch up back-to-back wins at the Yellow River Estuary International Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on Sunday (26).
The 30-year-old Tesfa broke Kenya’s five-year dominance in the men’s race to win in 2:12:02 last year, just 28 seconds shy of the course record of 2:11:44 set by Kenya’s Isaac Macharia in 2010.
This year, Tesfa not only aims to retain his title in Dongying to become the first multiple winner of the men’s race but also must stand a chance of improving on Macharia’s mark considering his impressive victory in 2:08:51 at the Marrakech Marathon in January, where he took more than a minute from his previous personal best.
However, it will not be an easy job for Tesfa since there are nine men on the entry list that have faster personal bests than him.
Tesfa’s biggest rival in the field, at least on paper, should be Ethiopia’s Bentayehu Assefa , who has a best of 2:06:22 when he finished second in Amsterdam in 2012.
However, Assefa is on the comeback trail. He ran 2:09:35 to finish sixth at Rotterdam Marathon in 2013 but has never managed to finish a marathon ever since.
Despite his impressive best of 2:06:38 in 2008, former Boston Marathon winner Deriba Merga also need to prove his form as he has not run under 2:10 since 2012.
Read more at: IAAF.org