Several former Boston winners are among the field of 36 elite runners.
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Reigning Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi of San Diego, Calif., will need to beat former world record holder Patrick Makau of Kenya and 2013 Boston Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia if he wants to hold onto his title. Makau and Desisa are just two of the 36-strong elite field announced Tuesday by John Hancock Financial, the financial services company which funds the professional division of America’s oldest marathon which will celebrate its 119th running on Monday, April 20.
Makau, 29, who ran a world record 2:03:38 at the Berlin Marathon in 2011, has rallied back from two off years in which he was plagued by injury, winning the Fukuoka Marathon last December in 2:08:22. Desisa, 25, who won the 2014 Dubai Marathon in a personal best 2:04:45, then won the 2013 Boston Marathon just hours before the terrorist bombings at the finish line. He also won the silver medal at the IAAF World Championships Marathon later that year. Like Makau, he finished last year on a high note, taking second at the New York City Marathon.
Also looking to take down Keflezighi (again) will be Kenya’s Wilson Chebet, 29. The 2014 Honolulu Marathon champion tried mightily to catch Keflezighi last year in Boston, but had to settle for second. He has a career best time of 2:05:27.
Other Kenyans recruited for Boston include two-time world champion Abel Kirui (2:05:04 PB), 2013 Dong-A Seoul Marathon winner Frankline Chepkwony (2:06:11), 2012 Boston Marathon champion Wesley Korir (2:06:13) and 2014 TCS Amsterdam Marathon winner Bernard Kipyego (2:06:22).
The men’s squad from Ethiopia is also formidable. Besides Desisa, 2013 World Championships Marathon bronze medalist Tadese Tola (2:04:49 PB) will be competing, along with 2010 New York City Marathon winner Gebre Gebremariam (2:04:53) and 2012 Rotterdam Marathon champion Yemane Tsegay (2:04:48).
Six-time world half-marathon/road running champion Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea (2:10:41) is also in the field.
The women’s field is led by last year’s runner-up, Buzunesh Deba (2:19:59 PB), an Ethiopian who lives in New York City. This year’s Xiamen Marathon winner Mare Dibaba (2:19:52 PB), 2012 Berlin Marathon champion Aberu Kebede (2:20:30), all-purpose road racer Mamitu Daska (2:21:59) and 2004 Olympic silver medalist Ejegayehu Dibaba (2:22:09) make up the rest of the Ethiopian squad.
Sharon Cherop (2:22:28), Caroline Kilel (2:22:34), Caroline Rotich (2:23:22), Joyce Chepkirui (2:30:23) and Cynthia Limo (debut) are the top women from Kenya entered. Both Cherop (2012) and Kilel (2011) are previous Boston champions.
The race also boasts three strong athletes from Europe, led by Aleksandra Duliba of Belarus (2:21:29), who finished sixth at Boston last year. Croatia’s Lisa Nemec (2:25:44) was fourth at last summer’s European Championships, and Portugal’s Marisa Barros (2:25:04) won the 2009 Sevilla Marathon.
“For 30 years, John Hancock as principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon has been recruiting many of the world’s best marathoners to run here,” Boston Athletic Association executive director Tom Grilk said. “During the last three decades, unpredictable and compelling races have played out on the streets from Hopkinton to Boston, as our American and international athletes push themselves to win here, more than any other race they will contest. We look forward to the spring and watching new stories unfold in these athletes’ quest to capture the olive wreath at the finish on Boylston Street.”
Patrick Makau, 2:03:38 (Berlin, 2011), Kenya
Lelisa Desisa, 2:04:45 (Dubai, 2013), Ethiopia
Yemane Tsegay, 2:04:48 (Rotterdam, 2012), Ethiopia
Tadese Tola, 2:04:49 (Dubai, 2013), Ethiopia
Gebregziabher Gebremariam, 2:04:53 (Boston, 2011), Ethiopia
Abel Kirui, 2:05:04 (Rotterdam, 2009), Kenya
Wilson Chebet, 2:05:27 (Rotterdam, 2011), Kenya
Frankline Chepkwony, 2:06:11 (Eindhoven, 2012), Kenya
Wesley Korir, 2:06:13 (Chicago, 2012), Kenya
Bernard Kipyego, 2:06:22 (Amsterdam, 2014), Kenya
Abderrahime Bouramdane , 2:07:33 (London, 2010), Morocco
Dathan Ritzenhein, 2:07:47 (Chicago, 2012), USA
Lusapho April, 2:08:32 (Hannover, 2013), South Africa
Meb Keflezighi, 2:08:37 (Boston, 2014), USA
Vitaliy Shafar, 2:09:37 (Boston, 2014), Ukraine
Zersenay Tadese, 2:10:41 (London, 2012), Eritrea
Dylan Wykes, 2:10:47 (Rotterdam, 2012), Canada
Jeffrey Eggleston, 2:10:52 (Gold Coast, 2014), USA
Nicholas Arciniaga, 2:11:30 (Houston, 2011), USA
Fernando Cabada, 2:11:36 (Berlin, 2014), USA
Mare Dibaba, 2:19:52 (Xiamen, 2015), Ethiopia
Buzunesh Deba, 2:19:59 (Boston, 2014), Ethiopia
Aberu Kebede, 2:20:30 (Berlin, 2012), Ethiopia
Shalane Flanagan, 2:21:14 (Berlin, 2014), USA
Aleksandra Duliba, 2:21:29 (Boston, 2014), Belarus
Mamitu Daska, 2:21:59 (Frankfurt, 2011), Ethiopia
Ejegayehu Dibaba, 2:22:09 (Chicago, 2011), Ethiopia
Sharon Cherop, 2:22:28 (Berlin, 2013), Kenya
Caroline Kilel, 2:22:34 (Frankfurt, 2013), Kenya
Desiree Davila Linden, 2:22:38 (Boston, 2011), USA
Caroline Rotich, 2:23:22 (Chicago, 2012), Kenya
Marisa Barros, 2:25:04 (Yokohama, 2011), Portugal
Lisa Stublic Nemec, 2:25:44 (Zurich, 2013), Croatia
Amy Hastings, 2:27:03 (Chicago, 2014), USA
Joyce Chepkirui, 2:30:23 (Honolulu, 2014), Kenya
Cynthia Limo, Debut, Kenya