NAIROBI, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Chinese marathon all time fastest runner Moses Mosop from Kenya remained buoyant his 2:06:19 time set in 2015 will not be broken on Sunday during this year's Xiamen International Marathon in China.
The event, which is part of the IAAF Gold Label road race, will feature top runners from Ethiopia and Kenya, who have been inspired to improve on the Chinese all-time record, which has stood firm for the last three seasons.
"The course in Xiamen is tough and it requires strong preparations. I felt depleted after the race and it will not be easy for the athletes when they line up to improve the record," Mosop said on Saturday in Eldoret.
However, the Kenyan, who has been struggling with loss of form and injury, is hopeful he will shake it off and return strong to compete in marathon starting in April.
"I will be back," he said.
Organizers of Xiamen Marathon have put out a quality field in the men's race aimed to chase Moses Mosop's course record. The Kenyan set his winning mark of 2:06:19 in 2015, which also stands as the Chinese all-comers' record.
Only two entrants toeing the line on Sunday, namely Ayele Abshero and Deribe Robi, have ever run faster than Mosop's course record.
The field also include three other sub-2:08 runners, all from Kenya, including 34-year-old veteran Elijah Kemboi, who has a personal best time of 2:07:34 and clocked 2:09:58 last year in Valencia, Cheshari Kirui holds a fast time of 2:07:46, and Elias Kemboi Chelimo, whose career best of 2:07:04 was set back in 2010.
"It will be a tough competition but we all plan for one thing, a win," said Kemboi. "If the weather is perfect and other conditions are good, then that record will come down."
Defending champion Meseret Mengistu and 2013 winner Fatuma Sado of Ethiopia will both be lining up for the glory hunt.
The 27-year-old Mengistu is the fastest woman on paper with a personal best of 2:23:25 achieved when she won the 2015 Paris Marathon.
She has won four out of the five marathon races she completed since 2014, including victories in Cape Town in 2014 and in Beijing in 2016.
Last year, she pulled away from 2016 winner Workenesh Edesa to seize the sole lead near the 35-kilometre water station, and led the rest of the way to wrap up the win in 2:25:58, more than six minutes shy of the 2:19:52 course record set in 2015 by Mare Dibaba, who went on to win the world title later that year. Enditem