Nairobi — Steeplechase king Ezekiel Kemboi is eagerly-anticipating to making his marathon debut on April 28 in Hamburg after organisers confirmed his entry alongside that of 2012 Olympic champion Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich.
Kemboi, a two-time Olympic and four-time world champion in the 3000m steeplechase, will for the first time tackle the 42km after transiting from track.
Kiprotich meanwhile, the 2012 Olympic and 2013 world marathon champion, will return to the northern German port city for the third time, after finishing second in 2017 and fifth one year ago.
The 29-year-old, who is the national record holder at 2:06:33, clocked sub-2:08 performances in both of his Hamburg appearances.
The fastest runner on the start list is Ayele Abshero, who clocked 2:04:23 in his marathon debut at the 2012 Dubai Marathon. The Ethiopian returns after finishing third last year.
World half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei, who will also be making her marathon debut, and two-time world marathon champion Abel Kirui were previously announced.
Kirui, the world champion over the distance in 2009 and 2011, has already announced his intention of chasing the course record of 2:05:30, set by Eliud Kipchoge in his marathon debut in 2013.
Compatriots Jonathan Korir and Amos Mitei, who have personal bests of 2:06:51 and 2:07:28 respectively, are expected to join the hunt. Japan's Taku Fujimoto, who clocked his personal best of 2:07:57 in last year's Chicago Marathon, will also be in the race.
The women's contest will also feature Portuguese star Jessica Augusto, who won the race in 2017 clocking 2:25:30. The field will also include Madai Perez of Mexico (2:22:59 PB), Japan's Tomomi Tanaka (2:23:19) and Dibabe Kuma of Ethiopia (2:23:34).