NAIROBI, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Nagoya marathon bronze medalist Valary Jemeli will be the athlete to beat at the Frankfurt marathon on October 27.
Jemeli will face Ethiopia's Alemu Kebede in the German city as they seek to push for a better ranking ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
"I hope to run a good race and boost my ranking among Kenyan runners. It is hard to get selected as a marathoner to represent Kenya, but with a win in Frankfurt, I will be a step closer to Tokyo Olympic Games team," said Jemeli on Friday.
Jemeli has the best time of 2:20:53, while Kebede's fastest time is 2:22:52.
"We have put together a strong women's elite field once again and expect a high-class and possibly thrilling race. Our goal is to one day have a sub 2:20 course record. It would, of course, be great if we could achieve it this year," said race director Jo Schindler in a statement.
The line-up also features Portugal's Ana Dulce Felix (2:25:15), Britain's Steph Twell (2:30:14) while the home contingent is led by Katharina Steinruck (formerly Heinig) who has a 2:28:34 PB.
Last year the Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa improved Frankfurt's course record to an impressive 2:20:36. It is highly possible that with good weather conditions this time could be under threat on October 27 and the city beside the River Main will stage its first-ever sub-2:20 time by a woman.
Jemeli has gone close to that barrier on several occasions. The Kenyan has broken 2:22 three times with her best achieved in Berlin two years ago when she finished third in 2:20:53. A strong sign of her potential for sub-2:20 is a personal best of 66:14 for the half marathon, set this year.
A strong performance at the half marathon is also a reason for making Alemu Kebede one of the favorites. The Ethiopian finished fourth in a highly competitive women's field for the half marathon in Copenhagen last Sunday, improving her personal best to 66:43. In spring this year she set another personal best to win the Rome Marathon in 2:22:52.
Ana Dulce Felix has been one of the best European marathon runners for some time now. The 36-year-old Portuguese will be making her debut at the Frankfurt marathon. She has a personal best of 2:25:15 and took 16th place in the 2016 Olympic Games marathon in Rio.