Defending champion Wilson Chebet and two-time world champion Abel Kirui are set to engage in a thrilling contest during the Amsterdam Marathon on October 19, organisers announced yesterday..

Chebet is coming to Amsterdam with big ambitions. “I’ve set myself a goal. During my fifth race in Amsterdam I want to show that this is a 2:04 marathon course. I’ve taken small risks in my training to achieve this, and I want the wonderful audience and outstanding organisers to see it.”

The Amsterdam Marathon has a special place in the heart of the 29-year-old Kenyan who holds the course record. “I feel at home and at ease in Amsterdam,” he said.

Last year, Chebet crossed the finish line in the historic Olympic Stadium in 2:05:36 and, to the sound of loud cheering, he sliced five seconds off his own course record.

Having stood on the highest rung on the podium no less than three times, the good-natured Chebet is now well known in Amsterdam. His personal best is 2:05:27 from the 2011 Rotterdam Marathon. The Kenyan can expect fierce competition from his compatriot Kirui, who won the 2009 and 2011 IAAF World Championships marathon gold medal and took a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Kirui has a slightly faster personal best of 2:05:04, which he ran during the Rotterdam Marathon in 2009, when he came third. This time, the 32-year-old runner also has his sights set on a 2:04 finish.

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