In his debut, Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot smashes Frankfurt record (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
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Defending champion Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot heads up deep fields in Frankfurt

Frankfurt, GermanyThe men’s elite field for this year’s Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon on 25th October includes a remarkable number of 15 athletes with personal bests of sub 2:09.

The Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon, which boosts a new title sponsor, is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race. At the 28th edition of Germany’s oldest city marathon organisers expect a record entry of up to 13,000 runners.

Defending champion Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot will be back in Frankfurt. The Kenyan had caused one of the biggest sensations in marathon running in 2008, when he took the race at his debut clocking 2:07:21. This time still stands as his personal best, but in the meanwhile he confirmed his quality by taking fifth place at the Boston Marathon in spring. The 21 year-old is one of a number of athletes capable to break the course record, which he set last year.

Kenyans Benjamin Kiptoo, who had won the Rome Marathon in spring with a personal best of 2:07:17, Hosea Rotich (PB: 2:07:24), Jason Mbote (2:07:37), Joseph Ngolepus (2:07:57) and William Kiplagat (2:06:50) are the others in with a PB of sub 2:08.

While the three time Frankfurt winner Wilfred Kigen had to withdraw due to lack of form his cousin Wilson Kigen will come back to the Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon. He placed second last year with 2:08:16. Gilbert Kirwa, who won his debut marathon in Vienna this spring with a promising 2:08:21, Yared Asmerom (Eritrea), who placed eighth in the Olympic Marathon in Beijing 2008 and fourth in the World Championships’ race in Osaka 2007, are two others to be watched on 25th October.

Among a number of debutants and runners who have never competed outside their African home countries so far (as applied last year’s winner Cheruiyot) there is one who has recently shown that he is ready for his first marathon: John Kiprotich (Kenya) finished sixth in the Rotterdam Half Marathon in September, clocking a world-class time of 59:23 minutes.

Carrying the European hopes in this extraordinary field is Günther Weidlinger. The former world class steeple chaser from Austria had run his debut in Vienna this April finishing with 2:12:39.

The women’s field, which had been announced recently, also is the strongest in the history of the event. While Kenyans Rose Cheruiyot (2:25:48) and Agnes Kiprop (2:26:22) are among the favourites in the women’s race organisers now released the top names of the men’s field. Six of the athletes signed for the race have so far broken 2:08 while another nine feature personal bests of sub 2:09. No other German city marathon has brought a similar number of high calibre runners to the start line so far.

Jörg Wenig for the IAAF