Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop the victors at the 2012 BAA Boston Marathon (© Victah Sailer)
Reigning champions Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop, both from Kenya, will return to defend their titles at the 2013 John Hancock Boston Marathon on 15 April, as organisers for the IAAF Gold Label Road Race announced the race's elite fields on Wednesday (10).
Last year, Korir and Cherop battled not only one of the strongest fields ever assembled, but also blistering race day temperatures. Korir prevailed over countryman Levy Matebo in the final mile while Cherop used past experience to surge on the final turn to win the women’s race by two seconds.
In the men’s race this year, challenging Korir will be Ethiopia’s former World cross-country champion and 2010 New York City Marathon winner Gebre Gebremariam, who is in the field again after finishing third in 2011 in 2:04:53.
His compatriot Lelisa Desisa Benti joins Gebremariam to also pose a threat to Korir. Desisa was recently crowned champion of the 2013 Dubai Marathon on his debut in 2:04:45.
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, the 2010 Boston Marathon champion, and last year’s runner-up Levy Matebo, both from Kenya, return determined to break the tape ahead of Korir this time around, while Ethiopia’s 2009 Boston Marathon champion Deriba Merga is also in the field.
The top Americans on the start line will be Jason Hartmann and Fernando Cabada. Hartmann finished as leading American in fourth place last year and Cabada holds the American record in the 25km. Abdi Abdirahman is a late withdrawal due to illness.
In the women’s race, Cherop will be chased by the highly talented Ethiopian pair of Meseret Hailu Debele and Tirfi Tsegaye Beyene, the course record-holders at the Amsterdam and Paris Marathons respectively.
Kenya’s past Boston champion and 2012 Chicago Marathon runner-up Rita Jeptoo and Mexican record-holder Madai Pérez should also pose a threat.
US 2012 Olympians Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher are expected to be top domestic contenders.
In the London 2012 Olympic Marathon, Flanagan and Goucher finished 10th and 11th respectively. Flanagan is a three-time Olympian and was second in her 2010 Marathon debut in New York City, before winning the 2012 US Olympic Trials Marathon. Goucher has experience on the Boston course after finishing third in 2009 and fifth in 2011.
Organisers for the IAAF