NAIROBI, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Edna Kiplagat, the two-time Boston Marathon champion, has thrown down the gauntlet, warning Kenya athletes are ready to reclaim the gold medal in this year's race on April 15.
Kiplagat, together with world marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui, leads a 15-member Kenya entourage to the United States.
"I am happy to confirm that Boston will be my next stop. It is about time Kenya reclaim back the titles in Boston. Poor weather and other challenges saw us lose last time, but we have the capacity to challenge for the titles," said Kiplagat, Friday from Iten.
The Boston line-up features nine previous winners and includes six men who have run faster time below the two hours and six minutes mark. There are also six women with personal best time of below two hours and 21 minutes.
"There are no small names in such big races. Each entrant has a high profile and capable of winning. I believe I will have my legs do the talking," she added.
Defending women's champion Desiree Linden will take on two-time world champion Edna Kiplagat, 2015 Boston Marathon champion Caroline Rotich and 2012 Boston Marathon winner Sharon Cherop. Throw in Paris Marathon champ Betsy Saina and it becomes toxic to the poorly prepared rivals.
"I am back to serious training. I have just finished the long run and I have enjoyed every step and thankful for such amazing weather," said Saina as she tones up her training in preparation for her first race in 2019.
There are also Ethiopian women led by three-time Dubai Marathon winner Aselefech Mergia, 2015 world champion Mare Dibaba and 2017 Dubai winner Worknesh Degefa.
In the men's race, defending champion Yuki Kawauchi, world champion Geoffrey Kirui and two-time Boston Marathon champion Lelisa Desisa lead the onslaught alongside 2016 Boston winner Lemi Berhanu and 2012 Boston champion Wesley Korir.
Those five former champions will line up alongside two-time Amsterdam Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono and Ethiopian duo Sisay Lemma and Solomon Deksisa, all of whom have PBs faster than 2:05.
Last year's second and third-place finishers, USA's Sarah Sellers and Canada's Krista DuChene, will return. Betsy Saina, European bronze medalist Eva Vrabcova and marathon debutante Mary Wacera will also be on the start line.