Philipp Sanga / Photo credit: Victah Sailer /

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 seemed to have lost his chance to run a spring marathon. Scheduled to compete in 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 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 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 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.