Another set of strong Kenyan runners have been added to the elite field of the 2009 Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon, which will take place on 25 October, according to the organisers.
Rose Cheruiyot, Jason Mbote, Gilbert Kirwa, Stephen Kiogora and William Kiplagat will challenge their fellow Kenyans who have won this race during the past four years: Wilfred Kigen was the winner from 2005 to 2007 while Robert Cheruiyot took Germany's oldest city marathon in 2008, causing a major upset to the favourites.
The Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon, which boosts a new title sponsor, is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race. Entry figures for the 28th edition of the event are up by almost 18 percent.
If the high interest continues organisers expect a record field of between 13,000 and 14,000 runners.
Robert K. Cheruiyot's course record of 2:07:21 from last year will be under threat on 25th October. But may be he himself is the one who can improve it.
The 21 year-old Kenyan has meanwhile shown that his success in Frankfurt in 2008 was not a coincidence. Cheruiyot placed fifth in April's high-class Boston Marathon.
Wilfred Kigen will be eager to re-establish himself himself as one of Kenya's strongest marathon runners.
The Kenyan had been unlucky in his recent marathons, when an Achilles tendon injury forced him to drop out of the New York Marathon in 2008 and a slight calf problem caused a below par perfomance in Düsseldorf.
He finished second in May with 2:11:30. But Frankfurt is second home for Wilfred Kigen, who intends to win this race a record fourth time.
The 34 year-old has a personal best of 2:07:33 from Hamburg in 2007. In the same year he ran a course record of 2:07:58 in Frankfurt.
"The duel between Kigen and Cheryuiot will be an absolute highlight of the Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon," said Christoph Kopp, who is in charge for the elite field of the event.
But he also adds: "But we have now added some runners who have the potential to upset the two recent winners."
One who has run a fine race in spring is Gilbert Kirwa. The 23 year-old took the Vienna City Marathon, clocking a personal best in his debut.
Despite warm conditions during the final part of the race he reached the finish in 2:08:21. Jason Mbote's personal best is faster: The 32 year-old came in second with 2:07:37 at last year's Seoul Marathon.
He has run in Frankfurt before, when he finished second in 2005. In a very close finish he was just one second behind Wilfred Kigen.
With Stephen Kiogora and William Kiplagat there will be two runners in the field with plenty of experience. 32 year-old Kiogora was third in Frankfurt last year with a personal best of 2:08:24.
In 2006 he had been second in New York. William Kiplagat so far will be the fastest in the field with a personal best of 2:06:50. Although this mark is already ten years old the 37 year-old had shown some good races in the past few years.
Among them was an eighth place in the World Championships in 2007. Kiplagat was eager to run in Frankfurt again (in 2008 he was 10th), because he is the coach of the defending champion Robert Cheruiyot as well.
Kiplagat will be able to watch his athlete from a unique coaching position - but only as long as he can keep up!
So far Kenya's Rose Cheruiyot, who holds a personal best of 2:25:48, is the fastest woman entered in the race.
In 2008 the 33 year-old had placed fourth in the Dubai Marathon with a personal best of 2:25:48. Later in the year she placed fourth again in Berlin.
Ruth Wanjiru will be one of her challengers on 25th October. The 27 year-old was 7th in Osaka this year and has a personal best of 2:27:38.
Especially the women's field will see a couple of additions in the coming weeks.
Online entry is available at: http:www.frankfurt-marathon.com