Desisa looking for back-to-back Boston Marathon crowns


The world's oldest marathon will run for the 120th time when the Boston Marathon gets underway on Monday.

Champion long distance runner Lelisa Desisa will chase a third triumph at the event, having won in 2013 before reigning supreme again last year.

Desisa remains an important figure in the history of the Boston Marathon, not just for his success, but also for the humility he showed after the bombings that rocket the event and the city in 2013.

The Ethiopian is incredibly popular in Boston for returning his winner's medal to the city of Boston that year in honour of the victims of the attack.

Last year, he took just two hours, nine minutes and 17 seconds to finish the 42.2km run.

That time was over a minute faster than the effort he recorded three years ago.

Desisa's marathon record is impressive - he has won three of his career nine marathons and finished second three other times.

But he will face a host of former winners in the men's field as well as five sub-2:05 marathon runners.

Kenyan Sammy Kitwara has a 2:04:28 best time in Chicago in 2014.

Desisa's fellow Ethiopian Lemi Berhanu ran 2:04:33 in Dubai in January, while Stephen Chebogut could be another surprise contender.

On the women's side, last year's winner is also in action with Kenyan Caroline Rotich looking to defend her crowd in a field that is similarly even to the men's.

Rotich was a surprise winner last time out, taking the win in 2:24:55 after a sprint down Boylston Street and she might need the afterburners once more.

London 2012 Olympic champions Tiki Gelana will be chief among Rotich's competitors, as will Bizunesh Deba.

Both fields have been affected by the Olympics later this year, with a number of marquee American and Kenyan runners, such as Eliud Kipchoge and world record holder Dennis Kimetto, choosing other events to prepare for the Rio 2016 Games.