Marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto headlines the men's elite field for the 2015 Fukuoka International Marathon on Dec. 6, race organizers announced.
Kimetto, 31, set the marathon world record at the 2014 Berlin Marathon as he crossed the finish line in 2:02:57. The previous world record was held by training partner Wilson Kipsang, who ran 2:03:23 at the 2013 Berlin Marathon.
This year has not been the best campaign for Kimetto as he finished third at April's London Marathon in 2:05:50 after the event was billed as a "Clash of the Titans" between him and Kipsang. Neither world record holder won as Eliud Kipchoge pulled off the upset victory.
Kimetto was selected to represent Kenya at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing. Kimetto failed to finish the race as Kenya's lone finisher, Mark Korir, placed 22nd.
In Japan, Kimetto will face off against Kenya's Bernard Koech (2:04:53) and Ethiopia's Getu Feleke (2:05:41). Kenya's Patrick Makau is also in the field and holds a personal best of 2:03:38, which set a world record in 2011, but has not run faster than 2:08:22 in the last two years.
Kimetto is coming off a 64:54 performance for 13.1 miles at the Luanda International Half-Marathon in Angola.
Kimetto's decision to run a December marathon would give him about two months to recover before Kenya attempts to stage an Olympic marathon trials race to select the 2016 Kenyan Olympic marathoners. Feb. 14 was set as the race date but no course has been announced.
Japan Running News has a list of the full international field, which can be viewed here.
- Christopher Chavez