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Edna Kiplagat, Kirui set for Boston Marathon

Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat crossing the line at 2017 Boston Marathon.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 – Defending champions Geoffrey Kirui and Edna Kiplagat will face stiff competition in this year’s Boston Marathon with organizers confirming a star studded field for the April 16 race.

Kirui will be faced with tough opposition from two-time champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia as well as Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist Tamirat Tola who is the fastest in the field.

Ten of the athletes in the women’s elite field have PBs faster than 2:23, including Olympic silver medallist Eunice Kirwa of Bahrain and three-time Dubai Marathon winner Aselefech Mergia of Ethiopia.

Three-time Amsterdam Marathon winner Wilson Chebet will be making his fifth appearance in Boston. The Kenyan, who has a best of 2:05:27, finished fifth in Boston last year but has twice made it on to the podium, placing second in 2014 and third in 2015.

Compatriots Norbert Kigen, Evans Chebet, Felix Kandie and Philemon Rono – all of whom set lifetime bests last year – will be making their Boston Marathon debuts.

Geoffrey Kirui

The field also includes Abdi Nageeye, who set a Dutch marathon record of 2:08:16 in Amsterdam last year, and Canadian Olympians Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis. Coolsaet is the second-fastest Canadian marathon runner of all time, while Gillis finished 10th in the marathon at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

German record-holder Arne Gabius, South African Olympian Lusapho April and Japanese runners Yuki Kawauchi and Kentaro Nakamoto will also be in Boston. Prolific racer Kawauchi finished ninth at the 2017 World Championships, while Nakamoto was sixth at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Elkanah Kibet, the top US finisher in the marathon at the 2017 World Championships, and US marathon champion Timothy Ritchie have also been added to the field.

Course record-holder Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia will return to the scene of her 2014 triumph, while two-time Frankfurt Marathon winner Mamitu Daska will be making her third appearance in Boston.

Caroline Rotich, who won the 2015 Boston Marathon, returns and is joined by fellow Kenyan Gladys Chesir, who makes her Boston debut after finishing runner-up in Amsterdam last year. With a half marathon personal best of 1:06:57, Chesir could be in the chase for the title.

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National record-holders Kellys Arias of Colombia and Madai Perez of Mexico are also in the field, as is Krista Duchene, the second-fastest Canadian marathon runner in history, and 2010 European cross-country champion Jessica Augusto of Portugal.

“This international field, combined with the previously announced Americans and defending champions, will make for a very memorable race day with historic potential,” said Tom Grilk, chief executive officer of the Boston Athletic Association. “Fewer than 100 days remain until Patriots’ Day, and we eagerly await crowning our next champions on April 16.”

ELITE FIELD

Men

Tamirat Tola (ETH) 2:04:11

Lemi Berhanu (ETH) 2:04:33

Lelisa Desisa (ETH) 2:04:45

Nobert Kigen (KEN) 2:05:13

Wilson Chebet (KEN) 2:05:27

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Evans Chebet (KEN) 2:05:30

Felix Kandie (KEN) 2:06:03

Geoffrey Kirui (KEN) 2:06:27

Philemon Rono (KEN) 2:06:52

Dathan Ritzenhein (USA) 2:07:47

Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) 2:08:14

Abdi Nageeye (NED) 2:08:16

Lusapho April (RSA) 2:08:32

Arne Gabius (GER) 2:08:33

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Kentaro Nakamoto (JPN) 2:08:35

Abdi Abdirahman (USA) 2:08:56

Galen Rupp (USA) 2:09:20

Reid Coolsaet (CAN) 2:10:28

Ryan Vail (USA) 2:10:57

Stephen Sambu (KEN) 2:11:07

Eric Gillis (CAN) 2:11:21

Elkanah Kibet (USA) 2:11:31

Timothy Ritchie (USA) 2:11:56

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Shadrack Biwott (USA) 2:12:01

Scott Smith (USA) 2:12:21

Andrew Bumbalough (USA) 2:13:58

Women

Aselefech Mergia (ETH) 2:19:31

Deena Kastor (USA) 2:19:36

Edna Kiplagat (KEN) 2:19:50

Buzunesh Deba (ETH) 2:19:59

Jordan Hasay (USA) 2:20:57

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Shalane Flanagan (USA) 2:21:14

Eunice Kirwa (BRN) 2:21:17

Mamitu Daska (ETH) 2:21:59

Desiree Linden (USA) 2:22:38

Madai Perez (MEX) 2:22:59

Caroline Rotich (KEN) 2:23:22

Jessica Augusto (POR) 2:24:25

Gladys Chesir (KEN) 2:24:51

Serena Burla (USA) 2:26:53

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Sara Hall (USA) 2:27:21

Molly Huddle (USA) 2:28:13

Krista Duchene (CAN) 2:28:32

Kellyn Taylor (USA) 2:28:40

Kellys Arias (COL) 2:29:36

Jessica Draskau Petersson (DEN) 2:30:07

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