Evans Kipkosgei Ruto (r) edges Samson Bungei in Cologne (© organisers)
Kenya’s Evans Kipkosgei Ruto will return to the TUI Marathon Hannover on 27 April to take on Ethiopia’s Mekuant Ayenew at the IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
Ruto, not to be confused with two-time Chicago Marathon winner Evans Rutto, won in Hannover five years ago in 2:10:48, which at the time was a personal best and his first ever marathon victory.
Since then, the 30-year-old has improved his PB by almost three minutes and it currently stands at 2:07:49, set in Kosice in 2012. Ruto also has a victory to his credit this year, having won the Mumbai Marathon in 2:09:33.
Ayenew, who finished second in Hannover last year in a PB of 2:10:05, is still in search of his first big victory over the classic distance and is expected to be Ruto’s toughest challenger.
Dennis Ndiso, Abdelhadi El Hachimi and Hosea Kipkemboi are among the other elite men set to compete in Hannover.
Ndiso of Kenya was just eight seconds behind the winner in last year’s Chongqing Marathon in China, where he ran his personal best of 2:10:47. El Hachimi, who has a best of 2:11:30, won the 2013 Antwerp Marathon, while Kipkemboi should be able to do much better than his 2:12:05 PB suggests as it was set when finishing second in Nairobi last year at high altitude.
Both course records were broken in Hannover last year as South Africa’s Lusapho April clocked 2:08:32 while Ukraine’s Olena Burkovska crossed the line in 2:27:07. These marks could once again be targeted on the flat course in the heart of Germany.
Algerian record-holder Souad Ait Salem is the fastest in the women’s field, although her personal best of 2:25:08 dates back to her victory at the 2007 Rome Marathon.
As is the case in the men’s race, last year’s runner-up in the women’s race returns in the form of Edinah Kwambai as the Kenyan attempts to go one better than 12 months ago.
Kwambai, who was making her marathon debut in Hannover last year, clocked 2:29:49 to finish second. She then improved by 14 seconds in Ljubljana, where she was second once more.
While Salem and Kwambai could attack the course record Germany’s Lisa Hahner – who has a PB of 2:30:17 – will hope to finally break the 2:30 barrier in Hannover.
Organisers for the IAAF