By John Kwoba
NAIROBI, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Mark Korir will lead all three podium finishers from last year's men's race in the elite field for the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon on Oct. 29.
Korir will race against his fellow Kenyans Martin Kosgey and Cyprian Kotut who finished second and third in 2016.
Korir ran his best of 2:05:49 in winning in Paris in 2015 and clocked 2:06:05 for third in Seoul earlier this year.
Kosgei ran his best of 2:07:22 in finishing runner-up in Frankfurt last year. Kotut won in Paris in 2016 with his PB and went to place third in the German city.
"It will never get any easier running in Frankfurt, but that is what inspires me and I hope it will be in my favour to win. But the strong field assembled is an indication, Frankfurt is up there among the big city marathon that any elite runners will struggle to win," Korir said on Thursday from Eldoret.
"It's very unusual to be able to re-unite the entire podium on the start line, one year on. It's given us the chance to assemble what should be a fascinating contest," Frankfurt marathon Race Director Jo Schindler added.
Korir has won a significant marathon title in each of the past two years. In 2015 he triumphed in Paris with what remains his personal best of 2:05:49 and a year later won the Frankfurt title in 2:06:48.
The 32-year-old returns to the race beside the River Main with a strong marathon already under his belt this spring when he finished third in Seoul with a high class run of 2:06:05.
Martin Kosgey sprang a surprise in the 2016 edition of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon by finishing second with a big improvement on his personal best.
He went into the race with a lifetime best of 2:09:50 and emerged as Korir's toughest opponent, crossing the line in the Festhalle in 2:07:22. He is intent upon making further inroads on his best time on the fast Frankfurt course.
Kotut has marathon running in his blood. The 25-year-old is the younger brother by 14 years of the former world class runner Martin Lel, winner of three London and two New York titles.
Kotut has already won an important marathon, taking Paris in 2016 with 2:07:11. He wasn't far outside his personal best when he ran 2:07:28 for third in Frankfurt last year.
Taking advice from his distinguished older brother, Kotut is another who will aim to improve still further and Frankfurt will be an ideal venue for him.