Linus Maiyo enhances the quality of Belfast Marathon field
The organisers of next Monday's Deep RiverRock Belfast Marathon are continuing to assemble one of the best-ever line-ups for the race.
Kenyan athletes Freddy Sittuk, who triumphed in the event last year, and Joel Kipsang, who took the honours two years ago, will be renewing their rivalry.
They will now be joined by fellow Kenyan Linus Maiyo, who is determined to test the two previous winners. Maiyo was third in the Barcelona Marathon two years ago in a time of 2 hours 11 minutes 34 seconds. Such credentials could make him a serious threat.
Andy Wacker of the US and Mustafa Channi of Morocco will both be making their marathon debut but, with respectable half marathon times to their credit, are hoping to be among the leading contenders.
The Women's field has received a substantial boost with the addition of two athletes from Ethiopia and Morocco.
Behran Gebremichal is a former track runner who has made a successful transition to the marathon, highlighted by her victory less than three months ago in a marathon in India where she recorded 2.39.11.
She will be joined by Elaariba Khadija of Morocco who has performed consistently well in the Marrakech Marathon in recent years, her best achievement being two years ago when she finished seventh in a time of 2.42.17.