Vincent_Kipruto.pngDefending champion Vincent Kipruto will return to the BMW Frankfurt Marathon on October 26, but he will face a pair of Ethiopians with sub-2:05 bests at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

Last year, 27-year-old Kipruto braved stormy conditions to win in 2:06:15. This year, the conditions will be the least of his worries as he will be up against the likes of Tsegaye Mekonnen and Getu Feleke.

Mekonnen won this year’s Dubai Marathon on his debut at the distance in 2:04:32, the fastest time ever by a junior athlete. Feleke, meanwhile, smashed the Vienna course record this spring in 2:05:41 and has a PB of 2:04:50.

The man who surprisingly chased Kipruto right to the line in Frankfurt’s Festhalle last year will also come back. At the age of 37, Mark Kiptoo clocked a PB of 2:06:16 in 2013 and finished just a second behind Kipruto.

A fifth sub-2:07 runner, Gilbert Yegon, showed this spring that he is back to his best. Winning the Duesseldorf Marathon in driving rain, he missed the course record by just 18 seconds with 2:08:07, less than two minutes shy of his 2:06:18 PB.

Francis Bowen, who will turn 41 next week, intends to attack the world masters record of 2:08:46, set in 2003 by Mexico’s Andres Espinosa in Berlin. Bowen has a PB of 2:08:01 and last year the Kenyan missed the record by just seven seconds when he was third in Chunchon in 2:08:53.

There will also be several marathon debutants in Frankfurt; among them are Kenya’s Daniel Wanjiru, who was third in the Prague Half Marathon in April in 59:58, and Ethiopia’s Adugna Takele, who finished ninth at this year’s IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in 1:00:14.

National interest in the men’s race will focus on 2012 European 5000m silver medallist Arne Gabius. After running a fine half marathon debut of 1:02:09 in New York earlier this year, the 33-year-old is aiming for a time in the region of 2:10.

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