The 118th running of the Boston Marathon will feature the fastest field in the history of the event, race sponosr John Hancock Financial announced Tuesday.
Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, who won the 2013 mens title and is the No. 1 ranked marathoner in the world by Track & Field News, will be coming back to Boston to defend his crown. Rita Jeptoo of Kenya, who won the womens title, will also be returning to try and win her third Boston Marathon.
Kenyas Dennis Kimetto, Moses Mosop, and Micah Kogo will be top challengers to Desisa for the title. Kimetto is the No. 2 ranked marathoner in the world after winning the Chicago and Tokyo marathons in 2013 and holds the world record in the 25K; Mosop ran the second-fastest time at a certified marathon distance in 2011 with his 2:03:06 at Boston; and Kogo finished second to Desisa in Boston last year by just five seconds and is the former world record holder in the 10K.
Ethipoians Gebre Gebremariam and Markos Geneti will provide strong competition as well, as both have run sub-2:05 marathons and have had strong finishes in Boston. Gebremariam finished third in Boston twice and won the New York City Marathon in 2010, while Geneti took sixth in Boston last year and won the Los Angeles Marathon in 2011.
Americans Meb Keflezighi, Dathan Ritzenhein, and Jason Hartmann are the best shots at having a man from the US win the Boston Marathon for the first time since 1983. Keflezighi is a three-time Olympian who won the silver medal in the Olympic marathon in 2004 and won the New York City Marathon in 2009. Ritzenhein is a three-time Olympian as well, and Hartmann finished fourth in Boston the past two years.
On the womens side, Ethiopian Mesert Hailu and Kenyans Sharon Cherop and Caroline Kilel will be top challengers to Jeptoo. Hailu finished second at Boston last year; Cherop won in 2012 and finished third last year; and Kilel won in 2011 and set a personal best of 2:22:34 last year in Frankfurt.
Top Americans Shalane Flanagan and Desiree Davila Linden will look to bring the Boston title back to the US for the time since 1985. Flanagan, who is a native of Marblehead, is a three-time Olympian and finished seven seconds off the Boston podium in 2013, while Davila Linden was an Olympian in 2012 and set the American record for Boston in 2011 with a time of 2:22:38.
Here is a list of all of the athletes in the elite marathon field, including their personal best times, as well as their country:
Moses Mosop 2:03:06 (Boston, 2011) Kenya
Dennis Kimetto 2:03:45 (Chicago 2013) Kenya
Lelisa Desisa 2:04:45 (Dubai, 2013) Ethiopia
Gebregziabher Gebremariam 2:04:53 (Boston, 2011) Ethiopia
Markos Geneti 2:04:54 (Dubai, 2012) Ethiopia
Wilson Chebet 2:05:27 (Rotterdam, 2011) Kenya
Tilahun Regassa 2:05:27 (Chicago, 2012) Ethiopia
Shami Dawud 2:05:42 (Dubai, 2012) Ethiopia
Eric Ndiema 2:06:07 (Amsterdam, 2011) Kenya
Frankline Chepkwony 2:06:11 (Eindhoven, 2012) Kenya
Micah Kogo 2:06:56 (Chicago, 2013) Kenya
Adil Annani 2:07:43 (London, 2012) Morocco
Paul Lonyangata 2:07:44 (Xiamen, 2013) Kenya
Dathan Ritzenhein 2:07:47 (Chicago, 2012) USA
Joel Kimurer 2:07:48 (Gongju, 2013) Kenya
Lusapho April 2:08:32 (Hannover, 2013) South Africa
Mebrahtom Keflezighi 2:09:08 (Houston, 2012) USA
Brett Gotcher 2:10:36 (Houston, 2010) USA
Jeffrey Hunt 2:11:00 (Beppu, 2010) Australia
Jason Hartmann 2:11:06 (Chicago 2010) USA
Nicholas Arciniaga 2:11:30 (Houston, 2011) USA
Vitaliy Shafar 2:11:52 (Frankfurt, 2013) Ukraine
Jeffrey Eggleston 2:12:03 (Chicago, 2012) USA
Mare Dibaba 2:19:52 (Dubai, 2012) Ethiopia
Rita Jeptoo 2:19:57 (Chicago, 2013) Kenya
Jemima Jelagat Sumgong 2:20:48 (Chicago, 2013) Kenya
Meseret Hailu Debele 2:21:09 (Amsterdam, 2012) Ethiopia
Eunice Kirwa 2:21:41 (Amsterdam, 2012) Kenya
Sharon Cherop 2:22:28 (Berlin, 2013) Kenya
Caroline Kilel 2:22:34 (Frankfurt, 2013) Kenya
Desiree Davila Linden 2:22:38 (Boston, 2011) USA
Flomena Chepchichir Chumba 2:23:00 (Frankfurt, 2013) Kenya
Buzunesh Deba 2:23:19 (New York, 2011) Ethiopia
Tatiana Petrova Arkhipova 2:23:29 (London, 2012) Russia
Aleksandra Duliba 2:23:44 (Chicago, 2013) Belarus
Yeshi Esayias 2:24:06 (Frankfurt, 2013) Ethiopia
Philes Ongori 2:24:20 (Rotterdam, 2011) Kenya
Belaynesh Oljira 2:25:01 (Dubai, 2013) Ethiopia
Shalane Flanagan 2:25:38 (Houston, 2012) USA
Yolanda Caballero 2:26:17 (Boston, 2011) Colombia
Amy Hastings 2:27:03 (Los Angeles, 2011) USA
Lanni Marchant 2:28:00 (Toronto, 2013) Canada
Serena Burla 2:28:01 (Amsterdam, 2013) USA
Noriko Higuchi 2:28:49 (Tokyo, 2011) Japan
Adriana Nelson 2:28:52 (London, 2008) USA
Adriana Aparecida da Silva 2:29:17 (Tokyo, 2012) Brazil
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes