Lawrence Cherono and Lelisa Desisa will resume hostilities at the 2020 Boston Marathon, inviting the prospect of another thrilling finish on Boyslton Street.
Last year the pair went elbow-to-elbow until the final few strides to provide the watching world with one of the most incredible finishes in AbbottWMM history.
Kenyan Cherono edged out his Ethiopian rival to take the tape, and then went on to claim the Bank of America Chicago Marathon title in similar fashion in October.
Desisa also enjoyed success later in the year when he became the first Ethiopian marathon world champion since 2001 in the heat of Doha.
Both men will arrive in Boston with 25 points already pocketed for AbbottWMM Series XII and, as the only two men on paper with a sub-2:05 personal best, both will fancy their chances of reaching the maximum 50 on April 20.
Two more returning champions feature, with 2017 winner Geoffrey Kirui and 2018 surprise package Yuki Kawauchi also announced.
Women’s champion Worknesh Degefa is back to defend her title among a throng of her fellow Ethiopians who include Buzunesh Deba, the 2014 Boston Marathon course record holder.
The challengers also include Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia, who returns in excellent fitness having recently run 2:20:21 to place runner-up at the 2019 BMW Berlin Marathon.
Dibaba has finished as high as second in Boston and is the 2015 World Athletics Championships Marathon gold medalist, 2016 Olympic Marathon bronze medalist, and 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon winner.
Edna Kiplagat is the only Kenyan among the eight fastest names announced, while a back injury has precluded her fellow three-time AbbottWMM series champion Mary Keitany from confirming her place in the lineup.
Kiplagat almost pulled off an astonishing catch at last year’s renewal of the world’s oldest continuously held marathon, and will be hoping a year’s work under her belt at her new US-based training camp will prove beneficial this spring.
American favourite Desiree Linden, Boston champion in the storm of 2018, is included in the lineup for a race which takes place just seven weeks after she plans to run in the American Olympic trials race in Atlanta.
2020 Boston Marathon John Hancock Elite Team - Women
|Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui||KEN||2:31:44|
2020 Boston Marathon John Hancock Elite Team - Men
|Jemal Yimer (Debut)||ETH||58:33 Half|