Men's and women's course record-setters, Jackson Kiprop of Uganda and Valentine Kipketar of Kenya, would be back to try and better their own three-year-old marks in the 13th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon to be held on January 17, 2016.
Marathon specialist Kiprop, whose course record of 2:09:32 was set as a pacemaker in the 2013 race, would also use the event to qualify for next year's Rio Olympic Games. He had recently clocked 2:15:16 to finish overall 10th in the Beijing World Championships, a media release said on Thursday.
Leading the Ethiopian brigade would be Seboka Dibaba, who came third in the Paris Marathon clocking 2:07 in April and has had podium finishes at the Sydney Marathon in 2014 and Seoul International Marathon in 2013. With a personal best time of 2.06, he is among the fastest in the field.
Kenyan David Kiyeng would be among the most experienced athletes in this edition of SCMM, having run 34 marathons. Having numerous titles to his credit, some of his wins include two-time Reims Marathon winner in 2008, the Joongang Seoul Marathon 2010, Daegu Marathon 2012 and runner-up in Chuncheon Marathon 2013.
Kiyeng's first major competition came in Prague 2006, where he finished 2nd, setting up a tone for a successful marathon career. With a personal best of 2.06.26 set at Paris Marathon, 2009, David has finished in the top 3, 17 times out of which he has won 8.
Commenting on the elite line-up Race Director Hugh Jones said, "Jackson Kiprop and Valentine Kipketer set the current course record in 2013. While Kiprop's time of 2:09:32 is all but secure, Kipketer's time of 2:24:33, on the other hand, remains untouched. There are 11 men in the field with a personal best time faster than of Kiprop's but among the women, there is no one who is faster than Kipketer. Kiprop's familiarity with the Mumbai course has helped him cope well with the difficult climatic conditions. Kipketer is full of confidence and if she still has anyone with her after 36km then she will probably have more than enough left in reserve to outrun them in the closing stages."
The other prominent men elite athletes from diverse nationalities are Abraham Girma, Hendrick Ramaala, Lawrence Kimaiyo, Bekana Daba, Mulugeta Wami, Cheshari, Debele, Kimutai, Seboka Negusse, Ezekial Omullo, Leting, Herpasa Negasa, Lungile Gongqa, Michael Mazibuko, Petro Mamu, Xolisa Tyali, and Joseph Ebuya.
In the women's race, Kipketer is the favourite to regain her title she won in 2013 in a new course record time. In that same year, she won the Amsterdam marathon with a time of 2:23 and has represented Kenya at the 2013 World Championships in Athletics. Post her maternity break, she made her comeback in this year's Airtel Delhi Half marathon.