Kenya's Cheruiyot to defend Frankfurt Marathon title

16:32, October 17, 2009      

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A few days after confirming his participation in next month's New York Marathon, Kenya Robert Cheruiyot joins the field of elite athletes for the Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon on October 25 in Germany.

The defending champion joins star-studded runners, 15 of whom boast personal best times of sub 2 minutes 09 seconds. He is also set for the New York marathon on November 1.

The Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon, which boosts a new title sponsor, is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

Cheruiyot looks forward to defending the title about two month's after another Kenyan, Abel Kirui, won the World Championship men's marathon gold in Berlin.

His participation in the Frankfurt marathon rules him out of the Oct. 25 Standard Chartered Nairobi International Marathon here, a race he had won in the past.

At the 28th edition of Germany's oldest city marathon organizers expect a record entry of up to 13,000 runners.

The Kenyan had caused one of the biggest sensations in marathon running in 2008, when he took the race at his debut clocking 2:07:21.

The time still stands as his personal best, but in the meanwhile he confirmed his quality by taking fifth place at the Boston Marathon in spring.

The 21 year-old is one of a number of athletes capable to break the course record, which he set last year.

Cheruiyot, however, ins't the only Kenyan gearing up for the event as Benjamin Kiptoo, who had won the Rome Marathon in spring with a personal best of 2:07:17, Hosea Rotich (PB: 2:07:24), JasonMbote (2:07:37), Joseph Ngolepus (2:07:57) and William Kiplagat (2:06:50) are the others in with a PB of sub 2:08, are also set for the race.

While the three-time Frankfurt winner Wilfred Kigen, another Kenyan, had to withdraw due to lack of form.

But the race organizers say Kigen's cousin, Wilson Kigen, will return to the Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon.

He placed second last year with 2:08:16. Gilbert Kirwa, who won his debut marathon in Vienna this spring with a promising 2:08:21,Yared Asmerom (Eritrea), who placed eighth in the Olympic Marathon in Beijing 2008 and fourth in the World Championships' race in Osaka 2007, are two others to be watched on 25th October.

Among a number of debutants and runners who have never competed outside their African home countries so far (as applied last year's winner Cheruiyot) there is one who has recently shown that he is ready for his first marathon: John Kiprotich (Kenya) finished sixth in the Rotterdam Half Marathon in September, clocking a world-class time of 59:23 minutes.

Carrying the European hopes in this extraordinary field is Gunther Weidlinger. The former world class steeplechaser from Austria had run his debut in Vienna this April finishing with 2:12:39.

The women's field, which had been announced recently, also is the strongest in the history of the event. While Kenyans Rose Cheruiyot (2:25:48) and Agnes Kiprop (2:26:22) are among the favorites in the women's race, organizers now released the top names of the men's field.

Six of the athletes signed for the race have so far broken 2:08while another nine feature personal bests of sub 2:09.

No other German city marathon has brought a similar number of high caliber runners to the start line so far.

Source: Xinhua
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