By John Kwoba
NAIROBI, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Dickson Chumba will be the athlete to beat at the Toronto marathon on Sunday despite having been overlooked by organizers of Chicago marathon earlier this month.
It is a bonus for the organizers of Toronto marathon to secure the signature of Chumba who has also won Tokyo marathon in 2014.
The 30-year-old has been on the podium of these two World Marathon Majors a remarkable seven times.
In addition, his personal best of 2:04:32 came in the 'Windy City' three years ago when he finished third. His addition has sparked a great deal of interest in this rapidly growing event.
Just this past February he was third in Tokyo with 2:06:25. Clearly the Toronto course record of 2:07:05 held by Ethiopia's Derissa Chimsa in 2013 could fall.
That would earn the victor 40,000 Canadian dollars bonus on top of the 25,000 dollars for finishing first.
"So far my training has gone well," said Chumba. "If the weather will be okay on that particular day, I think I can try to attack the 2:07:05. In Tokyo I ran 2:06:25 but it was a very fast pace for the first 30km, which I paid for a bit towards the end of the race."
Nevertheless, Chumba's participation has somewhat overshadowed the return of his compatriot and defending champion, Philemon Rono.
Chumba will also be on the lookout to avoid an ambush from compatriots Anthony Maritim who has a season best of 2:09:11 and Eric Ndiema who has a personal best of 2: 06.07.
In the women's race, Angela Tanui and former Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon champion Sarah Jebet will hit Toronto streets eyeing a win.
Their main mission will be claiming the women's race honours that were last won by compatriot Flomena Cheyech in 2013, though their biggest competitors will be from Ethiopia who have won seven out ten races in a span of 10 years.