10 to watch at the 2017 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon


Moses Kipsiro UGANDA

A bronze medalist at the 2007 IAAF World Championships (5000m) and a three time Commonwealth champion (2010 5000m/10000m; 2014 10000m), Kipsiro is the first Ugandan elite to race at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Although his best is only 2:14:18 (2016 New York), it is important to realize his career has been hampered by both injury and illness. He occasionally suffers from malaria and has had a bout of typhoid. Training has been going well now and this 30 year-old wants to demonstrate his true ability.


This remarkable Ethiopian, known for wearing his hair in cornrows thus earning the Ethiopian nickname ‘Sherube’, ran 2:06:27 in the 2012 Paris Marathon, a time that remains his personal best. In the interim he has married, started a family and built his own home. Jisa, 34, trains with two-time Boston marathon champion Lelisa Desisa among others. A latecomer to the marathon, he was a talented handball player as a teenager.

Dominic Ondoro KENYA

Earlier this year, Pius Dominic Ondoro won the 2017 Houston Marathon with a time of 2:12:05, but he has a personal best of 2:08:00 from the 2013 Tiberias Marathon in Israel. Twice he has won the Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis, most recently October 2016, when he also set a course record of 2:08:51. The 29 year-old lives with his wife and infant daughter in Eldoret, Kenya where he is coached by former world 10,000m record holder, Yobes Ondieki. He is a member of Santa Fe based Amerikenyan Running Club.

Seboka Dibaba ETHIOPIA

Dibaba, 29, has a best time of 2:06:17 from the 2012 Dubai Marathon. In January, he ran 2:12:37 to finish 7th in the Mumbai Marathon in India. On his last visit to Canada seven months ago, Seboka finished 2nd in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (2:09:45). Dibaba is a very experienced marathoner who can always be expected to be in the midst of the battle.

Adugna Takele ETHIOPIA

Takele’s preparations for Ottawa appear headed in the right direction. On April 30th, the 28 year- old ran 60:45 to finish 4th in the Istanbul Half Marathon. Although his personal best marathon time is ‘only’ 2:08:31 (2014 Fankfurt) he has shown promise with outstanding performances on the track and roads. It was as recent as 2015 when he ran a personal best 10000m (27:19.34 in Hengelo, Holland).


Koren Jelela ETHIOPIA

Canada has been kind to Jelela. In 2011, she set the still standing Canadian All Comers’ marathon record of 2:22:43 when she won the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. A year ago, she came to Ottawa and emerged with another victory. Her time of 2:27:09 that day was impressive given the unseasonably warm temperature. Jelela was delighted with Ethiopia’s 1-2-3 finish and predicts similar dominance. She is 30 years old.

Aberu Mekuria ETHIOPIA

Mekuria, the 2015 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon champion finished runner-up to Jelela a year ago. At 33, she is a proven marathoner with victories in Hengshui (China), Eindhoven and Cologne prior to her first Ottawa experience. Born in Bekoji, Ethiopia, the legendary “Town of Runners,’ she would like nothing more than to even the score with Jelela and beat her personal best of 2:25:30, which came in Ottawa in 2015. Much of her success will depend on how well she recovers from her most recent marathon. She finished 4th in the 2017 Seoul International Marathon (March 19th) in 2:26:50.

Esther Ndiema KENYA

After a strong career on the track, during which she recorded a personal best 5000m time of 14:57.16, Ndiema turned her attention to road racing. In four consecutive years, she beat 32 minutes for 10km and has a personal best of 31:27 for the distance. She has also run an excellent 1:10:04 for the half marathon. Consequently, her best marathon time of 2:28:41 should take a beating in Ottawa. Ndiema is 28 years old now.

Guteni Imana ETHIOPIA

Since finishing 3rd at the 2014 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon (in an excellent personal best time of 1:08:31) Shone has been on everyone’s radar. A second place finish at the 2015 Houston Marathon with a personal best time of 2:23:32 seemed to have launched her marathon career. A victory at the Seoul International Marathon in 2:26:22 just two months later further established her credentials. On January 2nd of this year, she finished 4th in the Xiamen (China) Marathon. No doubt this 25 year-old Ethiopian will be in the thick of the action in Ottawa.

Hiwot Gebrekidan ETHIOPIA

Although she just turned 22 (May 11th), Gebrekidan is quickly becoming a formidable force in road racing.  A year ago she recorded a time of 1:08:00 to win the Copenhagen Half Marathon then, on January 5th of this year, she startled many by winning the Tiberias Marathon (Israel) in a course record of 2:25:45. Gebrekidan has a strong background – she was the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships 3000m silver medalist.