Double Olympic champion will plunge straight into the deep end as she faces as fearsome line-up in her 26.2-mile debut in London

Sifan Hassan is used to embracing monumental challenges. At the Tokyo Olympics, for example, she won 5000m and 10,000m titles plus 1500m bronze, whereas at the 2019 World Championships she claimed an impressive 1500m and 10,000m golden double. Yet the 30-year-old Dutch athlete could not have picked a tougher race to make her marathon debut.

Hassan has decided to race over 26.2 miles for the first time in London on April 23 and she will face an incredible line-up. Organisers describe it as “the greatest-ever field assembled for the elite women’s race in London” and they are not exaggerating. Entries include:

» Yalemzerf Yehualaw – defending champion as winner of the London Marathon in October.

» Brigid Kosgei – world record-holder with 2:14:04 from Chicago in 2019.

» Peres Jepchirchir – reigning Olympic champion from Tokyo.

» Genzebe Dibaba – world 1500m record-holder who ran 2:18:05 on her marathon debut last year.

» Almaz Ayana – 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion who clocked 2:17:20 in her first marathon in 2022.

» Tigist Assefa – Berlin Marathon winner last September in 2:15:37.

» Eilish McColgan – Commonwealth 10,000m champion making her marathon debut.

» Emily Sisson – American record-holder with 2:18:29, she also holds the US half-marathon record.

» Sinead Diver – remarkable Irish-born Aussie clocked 2:21:34 aged 45 in Valencia in December.

Peres Jepchirchir (RunCzech)

In addition there is also Canadian record-holder Natasha Wodak, former US record-holder Keira D’Amato and further Brits such as Charlie Purdue, Jess Piasecki and Steph Davis.

Speaking to the media on Wednesday (Feb 1), Hassan insisted she is not moving to the marathon permanently and her appearance in London is more of a fact-finding mission to sate her “curiosity” as to whether the distance will suit her.

“I just want to see how well I can do it,” she said. “I’m a curious person. I’ve totally not considered moving to the marathon (permanently) as I still plan to race on the track.”

She added: “Marathon is so challenging. You can’t just guess how you will do. It is very different from the track. I don’t know how I will feel.”

Hassan says her longest run in training has been 37km and she is determined to maintain her speed in coming weeks. “For me the challenge is the combination of training for the track and doing one marathon. So after the marathon I will have to jump back on to the track. I need to avoid injury but also keep my speed for the track season.”

Sifan Hassan wins the 5000m (Getty)

Why London? She admits she has set an alarm to watch it unfold online, despite the time difference, when she has been in the United States. “You never know who will win. Even the greatest might get beaten up. You always feel you are watching a race that is like a championships. It’s great.”

On the line-up, event director Hugh Brasher said: “This is quite simply the greatest women’s field ever assembled for a marathon – arguably the greatest field ever assembled for a women’s distance race. We have two reigning Olympic champions, three world record holders and multiple national record-holders, in addition to an incredibly strong British contingent led by Eilish McColgan.

“It’s going to be a race the whole world will be anticipating and I can’t wait to see what happens on Sunday 23 April. We’ve had such a rich pedigree of incredible women’s results here in London. We have had world records and unforgettable performances from the likes of Grete Waitz, Ingrid Kristiansen, Paula Radcliffe and Mary Keitany. I am sure this amazing 2023 women’s field will provide another extraordinary chapter in the London Marathon’s rich and proud history of stunning races.”

In total, the 2023 TCS London Marathon elite women’s field will feature 10 women who have run inside 2:19 and five who have gone under 2:18.

To find out more about the elite men’s field, click here. For more information on the elite wheelchair athlete races, click here.

TCS London Marathon – elite women’s field

  • Yalemzerf Yehualaw (ETH, PB 2:17:23)
  • Brigid Kosgei (KEN, 2:14:04 WR)
  • Tigist Assefa (ETH, 2:15:37)
  • Peres Jepchirchir (KEN, 2:17:16)
  • Almaz Ayana (ETH, 2:17:20)
  • Genzebe Dibaba (ETH, 2:18:05)
  • Sutume Asefa Kebede (2:18:12)
  • Judith Jeptum Korir (KEN, 2:18:20)
  • Emily Sisson (USA, 2:18:29 NR)
  • Alemu Megertu (ETH, 2:18:32)
  • Keira D’Amato (USA, 2:19:12)
  • Sinead Diver (AUS, 2:21:34 NR)
  • Jess Piasecki (GBR, 2:22:27)
  • Natasha Wodak (CAN, 2:23:12 NR)
  • Charlotte Purdue (GBR, 2:23:26)
  • Susanna Sullivan (USA, 2:25:14)
  • Ellie Pashley (AUS, 2:26:21)
  • Stephanie Davis (GBR, 2:27:16)
  • Maor Tiyouri (ISR, 2:29:04)
  • Rosie Edwards (GBR, 2:31:56)
  • Samantha Harrison (GBR, 2:32:22)
  • Eilish McColgan (GBR, debut)
  • Sifan Hassan (NED, debut)
  • Girmawit Gebrzihair (ETH, debut)
  • Dominique Scott (RSA, debut)

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