Dennis Kimetto en route to setting a marathon world record at the 2014 BMW Berlin Marathon (© Organisers / photorun.net)
World record holder Dennis Kimetto and two-time world champion Edna Kiplagat will lead formidable fields at the 121st edition of the Boston Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on 17 April, organisers announced today.
Kimetto, 32, leads a field of nine men who have lifetime bests under 2:05:30. Kimetto is a Chicago and Tokyo champion who set the world marathon standard with his 2:02:57 victory in Berlin in 2014. Kimetto also holds the world 25km record of 1:11:18 set in 2012, also in Berlin.
He can expect a slew of Kenyan compatriots for company, Emmanuel Mutai, Patrick Makau and Sammy Kitwara among them.
Mutai, who finished second to Kimetto in the 2014 Berlin race, is a London and Amsterdam champion and won the silver medal at the 2009 IAAF World Championships. Makau is a former marathon world record-holder, two-time Berlin and Fukuoka winner, and champion in Rotterdam and Frankfurt. Kitwara has run six half marathons under one hour and is coming off a December win in Taipei.
Ethiopia will also be well represented, led by 2016 Boston Marathon champion Lemi Berhanu Hayle, who'll run along side countrymen Yemane Tsegay, Dino Sefir and Sisay Lemma.
Tsegay, who finished third in Boston last year, claimed the silver medal at the 2015 IAAF World Championships and has nine global marathon wins to his credit, most recently Fukuoka last month. Sefir arrives after 2016 victories in Ottawa and Barcelona while Lemma won in Frankfurt and Vienna in 2015. Both are new to the Boston course.
Four other Kenyan men are also expected in mix: Wesley Korir, the 2012 Boston winner; Wilson Chebet, a three-time Amsterdam winner who has finished second and third in Boston; Geoffrey Kirui, a rising talent who won the bronze medal in the 10,000m at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships; and Daniel Salel, the 2016 BAA Half Marathon champion.
Olympians Yared Asmeron of Eritrea, Cutbert Nyasango of Zimbabwe, and Eric Gillis of Canada also are in the field. U.S. elite men previously announced include 2014 Boston winner and 2004 Olympic silver medallist Meb Keflezighi and 2016 Olympic Marathon bronze medallist Galen Rupp.
Kiplagat vs Baysa in women's race
Kiplagat will head a women's field that includes nine runners who have clocked 2:23:23 or better.
The 37-year-old Kenyan is one of the most accomplished marathoners in the world, with victories in London, New York City and Los Angeles in her collection, along with the Abbott World Marathon Majors series title from in 2013-2014. In 2016 she was third in Tokyo and second in Chicago, running 2:22:36 and 2:23:28 respectively.
She'll be joined by compatriots Gladys Cherono, the 2015 Berlin winner and 2014 world half marathon champion, and Caroline Rotich, the 2015 winner in Boston, Prague and Las Vegas.
Valentine Kipketer, Joyce Chepkirui, and Brigid Kosgei round out the top Kenyan entrants. Kipketer's credentials include past victories in Amsterdam and Mumbai while Chepkirui has notched a win in Amsterdam and two wins in Honolulu. Kosgei meanwhile won both Milan and Honolulu in 2016.
The Ethiopian contingent will be led by two past winners: defending champion Atsede Baysa and Buzunesh Deba, who set the course record of 2:19:59 with her victory in 2014. They'll be joined by Ruti Aga, whose 2016 performances include a runner-up finish in Vienna and a third-place showing in Berlin.
The field also includes four-time Olympian Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia, a two-time New York City winner and two-time Boston runner-up who returns after a 12th place showing at the Olympic marathon in Rio. Rose Chelimo of Bahrain, eighth in Rio, and three-time Olympian Diane Nukuri of Burundi are also in the field.
Leading the domestic charge, previously announced, are four-time Olympian and 2008 10,000m Olympic bronze medallist Shalane Flanagan, who was sixth in Rio, and two-time Olympian Desiree Linden, seventh in August's Olympic marathon.
Organisers for the IAAF