The Xiamen International Marathon, the first IAAF Gold Label Road Race of 2017, will welcome a field of some 30,000 runners on Monday, but the star attraction will be Boston Marathon champion Lemi Berhanu Hayle.
First starting to run over the classic distance in 2014, the 22-year-old Ethiopian has established himself as one of the best marathon runners in the world. He claimed victory at the 2014 Zurich Marathon on his debut and went on to win in Dubai and Warsaw in the next year, reducing his PB to 2:05:28.
Berhanu improved his personal best to 2:04:33 when he finished second at the 2016 Dubai Marathon and then clocked 2:12:45 to win in Boston. He represented his country at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where he finished 13th in 2:13:29.
As the fastest man in the field, Berhanu is considered to be not only the favourite, but also a strong candidate to break the course record and Chinese all-comers’ record of 2:06:19 set by Kenya’s Moses Mosop in 2015.
It will be Berhanu’s third marathon in China, having won the 2013 Taiyuan Marathon and after placing 15th at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.
Read more at: IAAF.org