Kenyan marathon star Duncan Kibet will make a return to racing over the classic distance at the METRO GROUP Marathon Dusseldorf on 28 April, organisers of the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race confirmed on Wednesday (10).
Back in 2009, Duncan Kibet won the Rotterdam Marathon with the stunning time of 2:04:27 after a thrilling and memorable battle to the line with his compatriot James Kwambai. At the time, Kibet's run was a Commonwealth record and the mark is still the course record in the Dutch city which has seen several World records in the past.
“The fact that Duncan Kibet will run the METRO GROUP Marathon Dusseldorf shows the fine development of our race in terms of elite runners. We are now able to bring world class runners to Dusseldorf and it is our aim to build on this in the future,” said race director Jan Winschermann.
In fact, no runner has before entered a German spring Marathon with a faster personal best than Kibet.
Four years ago, Kibet was only 28 seconds slower than Haile Gebrselassie’s former World record and the Kenyan was regarded as one of the runners who potentially could beat the Ethiopian’s global mark.
However, a series of injuries since mid-2010 have put the brakes on Kibet’s racing and he has not completed a Marathon since his Rotterdam run. In fact, he did not run a single race during 2011 and 2012 but, after a stint as the pacemaker of the Seoul International Marathon last month, he believes he is ready to race again.
Four other fellow Kenyans are likely to be among his strongest rivals in Dusseldorf, the most prominent being David Barmasai.
The 24-year-old won the 2011 Dubai Marathon with a personal best of 2:07:18 and was then fifth in the World Championships Marathon in Daegu later that year. Paul Biwott (with a best of 2:06:54), Duncan Koech (2:07:53) and Pius Ondoro (2:08:00) complete the Kenyan quartet.
Germany’s André Pollmächer is the main local contender in Dusseldorf. He ran his personal best of 2:13:09 in this race in 2009.
The fastest woman in the field on the start line will be Ethiopia’s Melkam Gizaw, who ran her personal best of 2:26:52 two years ago in the Marathon Eindhoven. The 22 year-old was third with 2:27:50 in Dusseldorf last year.
Jorg Wenig (organisers) for the IAAF