Eunice Chumba is hoping she can make it fourth time lucky at the Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon on Saturday.
The Kenyan-born athlete, competing under the Bahrain flag, is the most seasoned runner in the elite field.
Chumba, 29, was runner up in the inaugural race in 2018, finished fourth in 2019, and runner up again last year after the 2020 event was cancelled following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She arrives for the fourth edition of the Abu Dhabi race on the back of a personal best 2 hrs 20 min and 02 sec that saw her finish third at the Seoul Marathon on April.
“It’s been a pretty good year for me so far and would be even better if I can finish it with a first position in Abu Dhabi,” Chumba told The National at the Event Village on Thursday.
“I have prepared well for this race and hoping I will be fourth time lucky in Abu Dhabi. It’s a title that I have been trying to win from its inaugural year. I have run two marathons and two half marathons this year, and I feel I’m in good shape coming into this race.
“There are lots of challenges of course but I hope I can better my own personal best to achieve this long-standing objective.”
Chumba will still have just over three minutes to make up to match Kenyan Angela Tanui, who ran the 46.2-kilometre distance in 2:17:57 in Amsterdam in 2021.
“My friend Angela has a personal best 2:17 and Mare Dibaba has a personal best 2:19, so I have a lot of catching up to do with these two, but I’m hopeful I can run a personal best on the day,” Chumba, who won silver in the 10,000m race at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games and finished seventh in the Tokyo Olympics last year, added.
Tanui, 30, the winner of the Amsterdam 2021 Marathon, and Ethiopian Dibaba, 33, a bronze medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics for Ethiopia, are both first time runners in Abu Dhabi.
Tanui listed the Abu Dhabi Marathon as a strong race based on her compatriot Judith Jeptum Korir’s results this year after her win in the UAE capital last year.
“Judith won the Marathon de Paris in April and silver in the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in July, which just go to prove what a strong race Abu Dhabi is,” she said.
“That’s a good yardstick to measure strength of the Abu Dhabi Marathon and I’m glad to be racing here on Saturday.”
The men’s elite race is headlined by the Kenyan pair Daniel Kibet, winner of the 2019 Istanbul Marathon, and Dickson Chumba, champion in Tokyo in 2015 and 2018, as well as Chicago in 2015. Adeladlew Mamo of Ethiopia arrives with this year’s Seville Marathon under his belt.
More than 20,000 runners are expected to participate across the marathon relay, half marathon, 10km, 5km and 2.5km races.
The marathon starts and finishes in front of the Adnoc Headquarters and the race-route takes the runners through some of Abu Dhabi’s most famous landmarks.