XIAMEN, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan runner Eliud Kiptanu said he was confident of breaking the Chinese record of all races at the upcoming Xiamen Marathon, the first IAAF Gold Label road race of 2019.
Kiptanu, 30, clocked a PB of 2:05:21 to finish second at the 2015 Berlin Marathon. His last marathon was in Paris, where he ranked fifth clocking in 2:08:20.
The Chinese marathon record was set by Kenyan Moses Mosop in 2015 in Xiamen, where he timed in 2:06:19.
Reigning champion Dejene Debela of Ethiopia will also attend this year's race. The 24-year-old runner became the slowest winner in 11 years by finishing the race in 2:11:22 because of the rain that lasted almost from gun to finish.
Ethiopia's Bazu Worku, with his career best of 2:05:25, and Kenya's Peter Kimeli Some, whose PB is 2:05:38, are also strong contenders for the title.
The women's field will be led by Shasho Insermu. The 26-year-old Ethiopian produced her PB to finish second in Amsterdam in 2:23:28 three month ago. Although it's her first and only sub-2:30 performance, Insermu is known for her efficiency as she has grabbed five titles in nine marathon races.
Kenya's Janet Jelagat Rono, 31, is the biggest hope to end a nine-year winning streak by Ethiopian runners in the women's group in Xiamen. She achieved her career best of 2:26:03 at the Tokyo Marathon back in 2014.
The women's race attracts 10 sub-2:30 runners, including Chinese hopeful He Yinli, who finished second at the 2015 Chongqing Marathon with a PB of 2:27:35.
Other strong entrants for men's race are Chinese Dong Guojian, Li Chunhui, Zhao Hao, Zhao Menghu and Qian Dingbin. Dong finished the race in 2016 in Chongqing in 2:11:41, the best result for all Chinese runners in the past 11 years. Li Chunhun ranked first among Chinese athletes in last year's Xiamen Marathon.
This year's Xiamen race invited more elite athletes as an effort to apply for IAAF Platinum Label road race, which requires a minimum of 50 contenders who rank top 200 on IAAF World Rankings or top 100 of Asia. Most of new elite athletes for this year's race are from Japan.