A host of elite athletes will head to the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon this Sunday to compete for a prize pot that amounts to £12,000. The race, celebrating its second staging, is one of the most eagerly anticipated of the year with all of its 7000 places snapped up within a matter of hours.
Among those hoping to cross the line first this year is Ethiopian Girma Assefa. Assefa boasts a PB of 2:07:46, secured in Paris in 2011, the year he also won the Mumbai Marathon. The lead group is also expected to include Cosmas Kigen, of Kenya, who achieved a PB of 2:09:43 in Cologne two years ago. British interest lies with Tomas Abyu, who will be looking to improve upon his third place showing at last year’s event.
Assefa, making his UK race debut, said: "My training partners and friends have run in London and Newcastle and I have heard of the great welcome for them. I am looking forward to the race in Yorkshire. If it is dry and good conditions there is no reason why the course record cannot be broken."
Looking strong in the female field is Kenyan Frashiah Nyambura Waithaka. Earlier this year she clocked a PB of 2:32:26 to take first place in the Barcelona Marathon. Waithaka is likely to face competition from Ethiopia’s Bayrush Shiferaw, who has a PB of 2:38:47 and was the winner of this year's Belfast Marathon, England's Holly Rush. Despite regarding herself as an ultra runner, Rush boasts a PB of 2:37, and was the winner of last year's Edinburgh and Pisa marathons.
The event, part of the Jane Tomlinson Run for All series, takes participants past some of York's splendid historic sites and scenic country lanes. The marathon course starts and finishes at the Heslington campus, part of the University of York, with the scenic course winding through Walmgate Bar, Parliament Street and St Helen's Square.
Look out for northernrunningguide.com’s race report on Monday morning.