Reigning Boston Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono has announced he will be going back to the USA next year to defend his title.
The Boston race, part of the World Marathon Majors, will be held on April 20.
Cherono, who trains in Kaptagat, Elgeyo Marakwet County will face Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa, 2017 winner Geoffrey Kirui, 2018 champion Yuki Kawauchi among other quality runners.
“I’m delighted that the elite field has been announced early enough for us to prepare well. In the next three months I will be training for the race which is one of the toughest courses in the world,” said Cherono.
Cherono also said that the announced line-up looked strong and it will be a tough challenge for him to retain the title.
“The 2017 champion Geoffrey Kirui and 2018 champ Yuki Kawauchi and 2013 winner Lelisa Desisa will be competing with me. They have all won before and will be hungry for another title. But so will I. I expect serious fireworks on the Boston roads."
Cherono won the Boston elite men’s race in a sprint finish, clocking 2:07:57 to beat Desisa to second place (2:07:59) while Kenya's Kenneth Kipkemoi settled for third in 2:08:07.
Cherono said it was the final kick that saved the day for him.
“Desisa is a tough athlete and we were together in the leading pack up to the last 50m to the tape. That’s when I sprinted leaving him behind and his body couldn’t react and that’s how I was able to win the race,” said Cherono, who is also the Chicago Marathon champion.
Kirui, who bagged victory in 2017 is also looking forward to a good run and he is well intent to recapturing the crown.
The athlete, who normally trains at his home in Keringet, Nakuru has since shifted to Kaptagat in Elgeyo Marakwet in a bid to improve his performance.
“I have been training in the two regions (Kaptagat and Keringet) and both areas have similar conditions which are good for training.”
Kirui finished second in a rain soaked race in 2018 and fifth this year.
In the women’s category, 2015 champion Caroline Rotich will compete against 2017 champion Edna Kiplagat and reigning champion Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa.
Degefa won this year’s race in 2:23:31, Edna Kiplagat was second in 2:24:14 while USA’s Jordan Hasay was third in 2:25:20.