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Kirwa faces Cheshari in Hannover Marathon next month.

Former Vienna and Frankfurt Marathon champion Kenya's Gilbert Kirwa is up against compatriot Jacob Cheshari at the 2018 HAJ Hannover Marathon on April 8.

Kirwa with a personal best of 2:06:14 is returning to German speaking territory nine years since celebrating his two biggest career wins in Vienna and Frankfurt. In 2009, Kirwa first he took the Vienna City Marathon in spring with 2:08:21 and then clocked a strong personal best of 2:06:14 while winning in Frankfurt in the autumn.

On the very flat course in Hannover, which was improved for this year's race by taking out several corners, Kirwa hopesto get back to his best. The 32-year-old Kenyan, who has run sub 2:08 times on five occasions, had two difficult years because of injuries. Cheshari is former Hannover winner and one of the most consistent European Marathon runners in recent years. Cheshari took the Hannover crown three years ago and has a personal best of 2:07:46 which he ran in Frankfurt in 2013 while placing fourth.

Poland's Henryk Szost with a personal best of 2:07:39 will be the other athlete to watch. He posted good performance in the Frankfurt Marathon last October, where he finished seventh with 2:10:09, just missing a sub 2:10 time in very windy conditions. Former Ethiopian Fate Tola, who became a German citizen two years ago and since January competes for local club Hannover Athletics, will be the favourite in the women's race once more. Last year the 30-year-old, who lives in Germany with her family, won the event with 2:27:48.

Hannover Marathon has in recent years established itself among the best German races at the classic distance. Regarding the quality of the elite field, Hannover will probably be number four again this year behind Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg.

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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Mar 29, 2018
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