Bengaluru: Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia will return to the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2017 run with the aim of a third successive victory on May 21, it was announced on Friday.
Geremew, 25, will arrive in Bengaluru in good form on the evidence of his 60:56 minutes win over a strong field at the Yangzhou International Half Marathon in China last month but he will still have his work cut out in his bid for a hat-trick of victories, according to a release.
Among the strong men's elite field assembled by the race promoters Procam International, is world record holder Leonard Komon from Kenya.
Komon clocked his time of 26:44 in the Dutch city of Utrecht back in 2010 and he started this year in good form, his results including a 12th place finish at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March. He will want to get much closer to Geremew than in their last encounter when he could only finish a disappointing 17th in Yangzhou.
The other runners expected to challenge Geremew are two men who have run faster than the defending champion's personal best of 27:36 -- New Zealand's Zane Robertson and Ethiopia's Birhanu Legese.
Robertson, a Rio 2016 Olympic Games 10,000m finalist, ran his best of 27:28 when winning in Berlin last October, the fastest time in the world last year.
Legese has a 10km personal best of 27:38 and is also no stranger to Indian road races. He was an impressive winner of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in 2015 when he clocked 59:20.
Also worth keeping an eye on will be Kenya's Edwin Kiptoo and Ethiopia's Guye Adola.
Neither man has yet run under 28 minutes for 10km on the roads but both of them have already gone under the hour for the half marathon this year and will be out to substantially revise their personal bests over the shorter distance in Bengaluru.
The target time for all the top runners is the men's course record of 27:44, set by Kenya's Geoffrey Kamworor in 2014.
Marking a decade in the city, this year's runners will contest for a total prize money of $2,05,059.
The women's course record also belongs to a Kenyan, Lucy Kabuu, who clocked 31:48 in 2014.
However, Lucy's time looks well within the grasp of 2017 world cross country champion Irene Cheptai, also from Kenya, who has only had a handful of road races but can boast of a best of 31:45 from 2014, an excellent time when one remembers it was set at altitude in Nairobi.
Cheptai is one of five women who have personal best times under the current women's course record, including her compatriot Gladys Chesir.
Chesir is also the fastest woman in the field with 30:41 from when she won in Berlin two years ago.
Among the Kenyan pair's rivals will be Ethiopia's Wude Yimer, who won this race in 2010 and was placed second and third in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
In addition to the TCS World 10K for elite runners, there is an Open 10K, the Majja Run (6km) the Senior Citizens' Race and Champions with Disability Race (both 4km). Approximately 24,000 runners will take to the roads of Bengaluru for five different races in what has become an annual event on the third Sunday in May and has emerged as Asia's leading run over the last nine years.