Mark Kiptoo in Frankfurt (© Organisers)
Mark Kiptoo, who set the world 40+ best at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon last year, will return to Germany's oldest city marathon for its 38th edition on 27 October.
The Kenyan ran 2:07:50 12 months ago to finish sixth at this IAAF Gold Label road race while becoming the first 40+ runner to break the 2:08 barrier. At the moment, all signs suggest that the 43-year-old is capable of a further improvement this year as he aims to win the race for a second time.
Indeed, Kiptoo is still running at a very high level which m may be due to his late arrival to the event. Kiptoo made his marathon debut at 37 in Frankfurt and finished second in 2:06:15, just one second behind the winner. In 2014 he returned to win in 2:06:49. Three of his five best marathon times have been run in the city. His lifetime best is 2:06:00, achieved in the Dutch city of Eindhoven in 2015.
"I am very excited to be heading back to the Frankfurt Marathon this year," Kiptoo said. "I have enjoyed good experiences in the past, finishing second in 2013, winning in 2014 and last year of course breaking the world masters' best.
"This year my aim will be to challenge to win the race. I believe if I win the race then I probably break the record again. My preparations are going on well and God willing I see another successful day in Frankfurt ahead."
Two Kenyans who impressed at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon last year and finished ahead of Kiptoo are also making a return: Amos Mitei, who was fourth with 2:07:28 in 2018 and Kenneth Keter, who finished fifth in 2:07:34. Bernard Kipyego also joins the Kenyan contingent and has similar ability, having won the 2015 Amsterdam Marathon in 2:06:19.
Despite the strong Kenyan presence, an Ethiopian could well emerge as leader of the pack. Fikre Bekele, no relation to the long distance multiple Olympic gold medallist Kenenisa, ran 2:06:27 to finish fourth in Seoul this spring, a traditionally high class event. This was after suffering problems in his first two marathons last year, where he endured to finish in 2:20 and 2:17 in India and Spain respectively.
Organisers are expecting up to 14,000 runners to take part.
Jorg Wenig (organisers) for the IAAF