The 2014 De Lage Landen Marathon Eindhoven race organisers have assembled a strong men’s elite field to challenge star name Leonard Komon, whose appearance has been previously announced, and hopefully reduce the course record on October 12.
The man many will have their eyes on is Komon’s Kenyan compatriot Jonathan Maiyo, the fastest man in the field who can boast of a personal best of 2:04:56 from the 2012 Dubai race.
Maiyo, 26, struggled to find the same form during 2013 but after an extended period of preparation, the 2012 African Championships 5000m silver medallist believes he is ready to go under 2:05 again.
Another Kenyan, Jafred Chirchir Kipchumba, also talked about going under 2:05 after he won the 2011 Marathon Eindhoven in what was then a course record of 2:05:48.
It was not to be, and injuries have meant that Kipchumba’s progress has stalled in the past few years, but he will be coming back to Eindhoven fully motivated to try to regain his title on the super-quick course where he propelled himself into the international spotlight three years ago.
Completing the quartet of top Kenyans on the start line in the Eindhoven city centre next month is Richard Sigei, who has a more modest marathon best of 2:10.23 but showed his potential to go much, much, faster when finishing fourth at the BIG Berlin 25km in 1:13.11 back in March.
Inevitably, there will be some opposition to the Kenyan contingent from their traditional Rift Valley rivals; Ethiopia will have two well-known marathon runners on the start line, no doubt getting support from the sizable expatriate population in Eindhoven.
Tilahun Regassa has some outstanding credentials over the classic distance, having clocked his personal best of 2:05:27 when finishing third in the 2012 Chicago Marathon.
Regassa went on to win last year’s Rotterdam Marathon in 2:05:38 but failed to finish in Boston this past April and so will come to Eindhoven next month with a point to prove.
Deriba Merga used to be known as a prolific racer and has an impressive pedigree having run 15 marathons, including finishing fourth at the 2008 Olympic Games, and has a best of 2:06:38.
However, Merga has not gone under 2:10 since 2011 and so the 31-year-old runner will be aiming to restore his reputation as a top class racer in Eindhoven.
The target time for everybody is the current Marathon Eindhoven course record of 2:05:46, run by Kenya’s Dickson Chumba in 2012.
"This is the strongest field ever in Eindhoven. We think we have a very good mix of runners and talents. Hopefully, this will lead to a fantastic end result,” said De Lage Landen Marathon Eindhoven director Edgar de Veer.
The 2014 De Lage Landen Marathon Eindhoven will be one of just five races in the Dutch city on 12 October, which will see a total of around 20,000 participants.
There is also a half marathon (which incorporates the De Lage Landen Company Run), the 4x10.5km marathon relay, the IAK 5km City Run and Trudo 2.5km Mini Marathon.