Kenya’s current and former Paris Marathon champions Cyprian Kotut and Mark Korir highlight Sunday's 35th Frankfurt Marathon where fast times are on the cards in the men’s and women’s races.
Also in focus will be the husband and wife pair of 2009 world 10,000m bronze medallist Moses Masai and Doris Changeiywo.
The fastest entrant in the elite field, though, is Tadese Tola with a personal best time of two hours, four minutes and 49b seconds which he feels he can improve.
TARGETING FASTER TIME
“I think I can run faster now than in 2010. Actually, I will try to go for a personal best. I am confident, because I have trained well for three months for this race,” said Tola, who finished second in this race in 2010 where he was beaten by Wilson Kipsang.
Tola will face Korir (2:05:49 PB) and reigning Paris Marathon winner Cyprian Kotut (2:07:11 PB), who is the younger brother of multiple big city champion Martin Lel.
“It was Martin who told me to go to Frankfurt, because he knew that this course is really fast and that I could do well here. This is why I am here. I am confident that I will be faster on Sunday,” he said.
In the women’s race, Mamitu Daska is aiming to challenge the course record of 2:21:01 and she isn’t ruling out an attack on the 2:20 barrier, organisers say.
“I have trained for times of 2:18 to 2:19. If the weather is fine the course record is definitely a goal,” said Daska, who won this race in 2011.
One of her main rivals will be her team-mate Sutume Asefa Kebede, who looks set to improve her best ever time of 2:24:00.
“It will be my third marathon on Sunday, so I have more experience now. It is my goal to improve my PB and my plan is to run the first half in 71 minutes,” she said.
Kotut and company will not only be seeking their maiden victory but also reclaim Kenya’s dominance in the race where they had won 13 consecutive times before Ethiopian Sisay Lemma reigned supreme last year.
Changeywo and Sarah Chebet will spearhead Kenya’s assault in the women’s race where they will be aiming to recapture the title they lost two years ago to Ethiopia too.
Last year, the Ethiopians dominated with Lemma going for men’s race in 2:06:26 seconds while Gulume Tollesa reigned supreme in women’s race in 2:23:12.
Veteran Kiptoo is the last Kenya to win on the course in 2014 while Caroline Kilel won the crown last for Kenya in 2013.
Kotut, 24, will be eager to run another personal best on the flat course, having won this year’s Paris Marathon, improving his best by almost two minutes to 2:07:11.
Korir is the second fastest in the field, having won Paris Marathon last year with a best of 2:05:49.
That should definitely see him make an impact alongside other Kenyan Lani Rutto, a late entry to the race.