Philipp Sanga / Photo credit: Victah Sailer / photorun.net

With a personal best of 2:06:07, the Kenyan Philip Kimutai Sanga is the fastest runner on the start list of the 2016 METRO GROUP Marathon Duesseldorf on 24 April.

A number of fellow Kenyans plus defending champion Marius Ionescu of Romania are among the men’s elite runners. This was announced by the organisers on Wednesday.

Five days ago [link id="928" tax="post_tag" text="Philip Sanga"] seemed to have lost his chance to run a spring marathon. Scheduled to compete in [link id="710" tax="post_tag" text="Hannover"] last Sunday there was a mistake in the visa so that the 32-year-old was unable to fly out of Nairobi.

However his agony ended last week when the organizers of the METRO GROUP [link id="132" tax="post_tag" text="Marathon Duesseldorf"] offered him another opportunity in Germany just two weeks later.

Sanga ran his personal best of 2:06:07, when he finished fourth at the [link id="574" tax="post_tag" text="Frankfurt Marathon"] back in 2011. A marathon specialist the Kenyan has already run sub 2:09 eight times.

The last time he achieved such a result was in [link id="116" tax="post_tag" text="Vienna"] two years ago where he was third in 2:08:58. Another fine performance came in Boston in 2011, where he took seventh in 2:07:10.

While he was runner-up on a couple of occasions so far Philip Sanga has never won a marathon. He will look to add a first victory in Duesseldorf next week.

Among his rivals are fellow-Kenyans Cosmas Kigen and Mathew Bowen. Kigen has a personal record of 2:09:43 from Cologne in 2011 while Bowen ran 2:10:57 in Rennes three years ago. More recently he was sixth in Toronto last autumn in 2:11:28.

Defending champion Marius Ionescu will also return to Duesseldorf.

The 31 year-old ran a personal best of 2:13:19 a year ago. However this time it will be much more difficult for him to win again since the field is much stronger than a year ago.

For financial reasons organizers had a very limited elite field in 2015 and no African top runners were invited.

"We are happy that this year our event has a stronger elite field again so that we can position the METRO GROUP Marathon Duesseldorf much better among the international significant marathons," said Race Director Jan Winschermann.