Elite Athletes competing at the 2016 Honolulu Marathon

Bios on each athlete at bottom of the page.

Men’s Elite Field 2016

Bib # Men DOB Country PR Set At
2 Feyisa Lilesa 1990 Ethiopia 02:04:52 2012 Chicago Marathon
3 Wilson Chebet 1985 Kenya 02:05:27 2011 Rotterdam Marathon
4 Deribe Robi 1990 Ethiopia 02:05:58 2015 Eindhoven Marathon
5 Lawrence Cherono 1988 Kenya 02:07:24 2016 Prague Marathon
6 Robert Kwambai 1985 Kenya 02:08:18 2015 Xiamen Marathon
7 Festus Talam 1994 Kenya 02:06:26 2016 Eindhoven Marathon
8 Yusei Nakao 1984 Japan 02:13:23 2015 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon


Womens Elite Field 2016

Bib # Women DOB Country PR Set At
F2 Buzunesh Deba 1987 Ethiopia 02:19:59 2014 Boston
F3 Yingying Zhang 1990 Pr of China 02:22:38 2008 Xiamen Marathon
F4 Brigid Kosgei 1994 Kenya 02:24:45 2016 Lisbon Marathon
F5 Eri Okubo 1983 Japan 2:26:08 2012 Tokyo Marathon


Men’s Bios

#2 Feyisa Lilesa, 26, Ethiopia

Personal Best: 2:04:52, Chicago, 2012
Key 2016 Results: Olympic Silver Medalist in Rio de Janeiro. 1st place at the Tokyo Marathon (2:06:56)
Other Marathon Achievements: 4th 2915 Dubai Marathon; 5th 2015 Rotterdam Marathon; 3rd 2015 Berlin Marathon; 3rd 2011 World Championships Marathon.
At Honolulu:  Honolulu Marathon debut.
Best Known For: 2016 Olympic silver medal position where he finished raising his arms in an “X”, as a gesture of political protest against the Ethiopian government for persecution of the Oromo people. Unable to return to Ethiopia because he feared for his life, he went instead to the USA where he is seeking asylum.

#3 Wilson Chebet, 31, Kenya

Personal Best: 2:05:27, Rotterdam, 2011
Key 2016 Results: 12th Amsterdam Marathon 2:08:19; 2nd NYC Half-Marathon 1:01:35; 2nd UAE Healthy Kidney 10K 28:37
Other Marathon Achievements: 3rd 2015 Boston Marathon (2nd 2014 and 5th 2012); 1st 2011 Rotterdam Marathon (2:05:27).
At Honolulu: 2nd 2015 2:12:47, 1st 2014 2:15:35,
Best Known For: Three straight victories at Amsterdam Marathon (2011, 2012, 2013); second place at 2014 Boston Marathon where he chased American Meb Keflezighi in the final kilometers, but fell 11 seconds short.  

#4 Deribe Robi, 26, Ethiopia

Personal Best: 2:05:58, 2015 Eindhoven Marathon
Key 2016 Result: 8th Eindhoven Marathon, 2:11:00
Other Marathon Achievements: 2nd 2015 Eindhovan Marathon (2:05:58); 3rd 2015 Prague Marathon (2:09:05); 3rd 2015 Dubai Marathon; 1st 2014 Marrakesh Marathon; 4th 2014 Rotterdam Marathon; 5th 2014 Frankfurt Marathon.
At Honolulu: Honolulu Marathon debut.
Best known For: Veteran of 12 marathons with 7 podium finishes

#5 Lawrence Cherono, 28, Kenya
Personal Best: 2:07:24, Prague Marathon, 2016
Key 2016 Results: 1st Prague Marathon, 2:07:24; 2nd Hong Kong Marathon, 2:12:14
At Honolulu: Honolulu Marathon debut.
Best known For: Has run six career marathons in Algiers, Seville, Lanzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Prague

#6 Robert Kwambai, 31, Kenya

Personal Best: 2:08:18, 2015 Xiamen Marathon
Key 2016 Result:  1st Lanzhou Marathon, 2:13:20
At Honolulu: Honolulu Marathon debut.
Best known For: Veteran of five career marathons in Padova, Linz, Paris, Xiamen and Lanzhou with three victories and never a lower finish than fourth place.

#7 Festus Talam, 22, Kenya

Personal Best: 2:06:26, Eindhoven Marathon, 2016
Key 2016 Result: 1st Eindhoven Marathon, 2:06:26 (started race as pacemaker and decided to finish)
At Honolulu: Honolulu Marathon debut.
Best known For: Winning the Eindhoven Marathon this year at his debut at the distance. He was the designated pacemaker, tasked with taking the lead group to 35km on pace for a 2:06:00 finish. Has fast half-marathon personal best of 1:00:56.

 #Yusei Nakao, 32, Japan

Personal Best: 2:13:23, Oita Marathon, 2015
Has run two marathons and two half marathons this year, finishing 33rd at the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan in March (2:18:53) and 17th at the Grandma’s Marathon in Minnesota (2:25:55). Placed 5th at the 2008 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in a time of 62:05. Won the 2012 Shizuoka Marathon. Has run six-sub 2:17 marathons over the course of his career. Is the son of Takayuki Nakao, the first Japanese man to crack the 2:20 barrier in the marathon.


Women’s Bios

#F2 Buzunesh Deba, 29, Ethiopia

Personal Best: 2:19:59, Boston, 2014
Key 2016 Results: 7th Boston Marathon 2:33:56; DNF NYC Marathon; 12th NYC Half 1:14:39
At Honolulu Marathon: Debut
Best Known For: Was elevated to 2014 Boston Marathon champion and course record holder after the retroactive disqualification of Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo for doping. Veteran of 18 marathons with 9 victories and 13 podium finishes. Victories include Los Angeles Marathon 2011, Grandma’s Marathon (Duluth) 2010, California Int’l Marathon (2010), Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon (2011), and Twin Cities Marathon 2010.  Married to her coach, agent and training partner, Worku Beyi.  Lives and trains in Bronx, New York.

#F3 Zhang Yingying, 26, China

Personal Best: 2:22:38, Xiamen, 2008 (was a world junior “best” at the time
Key 2016 Results: 2nd Chinese Marathon Championships (Hengshui) 2:32:45; 3rd Chongqing Marathon 2:29:55
At Honolulu Marathon: 4th 2015 2:37:01
Best Known For: Running a spectacular 2:22:38 as an 18 year-old in 2008.  Finished 15th at the 2008 Olympic Games 10,000m.  Was the 2015 World University Games Half-Marathon champion.

#F4 Brigid Jepcheschir Kosgei, Kenya

Personal Best: 2:24:45, Lisbon 2016
Key 2016 Results: 2nd Lisbon Marathon 2:24:45 PB; 2nd Milan Marathon 2:27:45; also won half-marathons in Seoul, Korea, and Ndakaini, Kenya.
At Honolulu Marathon: Debut
Best Known For: Improved rapidly from 2:47:59 PB in 2015, to 2:27:45 at Milan last April, the 2:24:45 in Lisbon last October.

#F5 Eri Okubo, 33, Japan

Personal Best: 2:26:08, Tokyo 2012
Key 2016 Results: None
At Honolulu Marathon: 6th 2010 2:47:14, 6th 2011 2:34:10
Best Known For: Veteran of 17 marathons with one victory and four podium finishes.  Best race was her fourth place finish at the 2012 Tokyo Marathon.  She ran a very fast first half (1:11:40), building up a nearly two-minute lead.  But she faded in the second half, and although she was leading at 35 km, she ended up fading and finishing fourth, 38 seconds behind the winner Atsede Habtamu.