NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Defending Chicago Marathon champions Abel Kirui
and Florence Kiplagat of Kenya are plotting to run fast time in
this year’s event, which will be held on Oct. 8.
Alongside the two
champions, organisers have also lined up world record-holder
Dennis Kimetto of Kenya, half marathon world record-holder
Zersenay Tadese and three-time Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh
“I want to improve
my personal best and Chicago fast course could give me just
that. The competition I have is strong and it will spur me
forward to run faster,” Kirui said on Thursday from Eldoret.
Last year, it boiled
down to tactics as Kirui held off compatriot Dickson Chumba to
win by three seconds in 2:11:23.
The two-time world
champion has a personal best of 2:05:04 and finished fourth at
this year’s London Marathon in 2:07:45, his fastest time since
winning the second of his world titles in 2011.
Kimetto returns to
Chicago for the first time since setting a course record of
2:03:45 in 2013.
Prior to that, he
ran the fastest marathon debut in history in Berlin in 2012
(2:04:16) and in 2014 he became the first athlete in history to
cover the marathon within 2:03, clocking a world record of
2:02:57 in Berlin.
An ankle and knee
injury sustained in training early this year forced Kimetto out
of Boston marathon and the 35-year-old will be keen to improve
his fitness in Chicago.
Tadese, a six-time
world champion on the roads and cross-country, has only finished
While his official
personal best is 2:10:41, the 2004 Olympic 10,000m bronze
medallist ran 2:06:51 in the Breaking2 marathon so will be
looking to replicate that kind of form in Chicago.
Sambu made his marathon debut in Chicago in 2016, finishing
fifth in 2:13:35. With PBs of 26:54.61 for 10,000m and 1:00:41
for the half marathon, it would appear the 29-year-old is
capable of significantly improving his marathon PB.
Kohei Mastsumura, Yuki Takamiya, Chihiro Miyawaki and Ryoichi
Matsuo add further strength to this year’s field.
Matsumara is the
fastest of the four, having set a PB of 2:08:09 at the 2014
Tokyo Marathon. Kiplagat returns to chase her third title in a
row and her fourth podium finish.
The 2010 world half
marathon champion has a marathon PB of 2:19:44 and held the half
marathon world record until earlier this year.
Dibaba started 2017
by becoming the third-fastest woman of all time when she
finished second in London in 2:17:56. Dibaba is a three-time
Olympic gold medallist, a five-time world champion on the track
and a four-time winner of senior titles at the World Cross.
She made her
marathon debut in 2014 with a third-place finish in London in
2:20:35. More recently, she took the silver medal in the 10,000m
at the IAAF World Championships London 2017.
returns to Chicago after finishing third last year in 2:23:41.
The Kenyan finished sixth at this year’s Boston Marathon.