The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: For Frankfurt

Former winner Gilbert Kirwa will also be in the show as he seeks his second title in Germany's oldest city marathon. Kirwa won the race in 2009 in a course record-cum-personal best time of 2:06:14. However, the course mark has since been lowered to 2:03:42.

A series of injuries hampered Kirwa's progress but he took third place in Frankfurt last in a time of 2:07:35. The race was won by another Kenyan world record holder Patrick Makau followed by Ethiopia's Deressa Chimsa.

One of his toughest rivals is anticipated to be fellow Kenyan Vincent Kipruto, who won the silver medal on global stage in Daegu two years ago and has a superb personal best of 2:05:13.

This year Kirwa had a fine performance in the Tokyo Marathon. The 27 year-old ran 2:08:17 for sixth place in a very competitive field and when he now returns to the venue of his biggest big city success, he will be eager to run much faster. Vincent Kipruto has been among Kenya's strongest marathon runners for some years.

From 2009 to 2011 he clocked sub 2:06 times on three occasions. Firstly, he won the Paris Marathon in 2009 with 2:05:47; then he improved to 2:05:13 for a third place in Rotterdam in 2010 and when returning to the Dutch race he was second with 2:05:33 in 2011.

Two years ago he also represented Kenya for the first and only time so far, bringing home a Marathon silver medal from the World Championships.

Frankfurt will be Kipruto's first race in Germany's financial capital. With the course record of 2:03:42 just four seconds away from the world record, Kipruto knows that this could be a great opportunity for another very fast time. He has also done well already this spring, winning the Otsu Marathon in Japan with 2:08:34.

Kilel will face defending champion Meselech Melkamu of Ethiopia as she defends the title she won last year. Melkamu produced the third fastest Marathon debut ever by a woman when setting a course record of 2:21:01 in 2012.

Melkamu, 28, is the second fastest 10,000m runner of all-time and holds the African record at the distance.

After a great career on the track and also at cross country, she is now concentrating on the Marathon.

She will be accompanied by compatriot Mamitu Daska who clocked a personal best of 2:21:59 when she won the race in 2011.

The organisers expect around 15,000 athletes to take part in the 32nd edition of the BMW Frankfurt Marathon.

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