Nataliya Lehonkova from Ukraine will look to win the Irish Life Dublin Marathon for the third time on Sunday.
Lehonkova has won the women’s race on two previous occasions most recently in 2017 when she ran a new personal best of 2.28.58.
The Rio 2016 Olympian has been training in Austria since fleeing her war-torn country earlier this year.
Nataliya Lehonkova to face stiff competition
It is expected that the 39-year-old will face stiff competition from Ethiopians Nigist Muluneh and Alemu Negeri. Negeri has the fastest personal best in the field, having clocked 2.27.56 in a race in Marrakesh in early 2020.
Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) is set to spearhead the Irish challenge. McGlynn raced at the European Championships in Munich back in August, finishing inside the top thirty on that occasion.
Gladys Ganiel (North Belfast Harriers), Kate Purcell (Raheny Shamrocks) and Courtney McGuire (Clonmel AC) are also all expected to be in the mix when it comes to making the national podium.
Ganiel won the Belfast Marathon earlier this year, Purcell won the Irish Life Race Series 10 Mile, and McGuire makes her marathon debut having finished second in the Antrim Coast Half Marathon running 73.54.
Birhanu Teshome of Ethiopia leads the entries in the men’s elite field. Teshome has an impressive personal best of 2.08.20, which he ran back in 2019 in Dubai. His season’s best stands at 2.13.29 which he ran in Lens.
Fellow Ethiopian Ashenafi Boja ran a personal best of 2.12.35 at the Madrid marathon earlier this year. Prior to that Boja had never broken 2.18 for the distance.
Ketema Bekele Negasa is a former 50k world record holder having ran a time of 2.42.07 for the distance in 2021. The Ethiopian has a marathon personal best of 2.11.07 dating back to 2017.
Peter Somba, who is originally from Kenya but now runs for Dunboyne AC is expected to challenge also. Somba won three of the four races that were part of this year’s Irish Life Dublin Race Series.
Mick Clohissey (Raheny Shamrocks) returns from injury to take on the race. The Olympian will be looking to contest for top spot on the National Championships podium.
Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers), previous national marathon champion Sean Hehir (Croghan AC), Martin Hoare (Celbridge AC), and David Mansfield (Clonmel AC) will all have their eyes set on making the national podium.
Irishman Patrick Monahan will be the favourite to win the Wheelchair race having claimed the title in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019.
There will be further build-up to the Irish Life Dublin Marathon to come throughout the week.