By Kennedy Langat
Security has been beefed up in France ahead of this year’s edition of the Paris Marathon set to be held this Sunday.
Over 50,000 runners including defending champion Mark Korir of Kenya are expected to take part in the marathon that crosses Paris from east to west, from the Bois de Vincennes to the Bois de Boulogne.
Organizers said that they have increased the number of security guards and strengthened the review of bags. The staff will also be equipped with metal detectors.
Thousands of spectators will also be lining the roads in the French capital.
Korir clocked a Personal Best time of 2 hours 05 minutes and 49 seconds to win in the French capital last year in what was the first marathon victory of his career.
He will be one of nine men in this year’s race with a Personal best time faster than 2 hours 07 minutes.
Fellow Kenyan Bernard Koech is the only man in the field whose Personal Best is faster than Kenenisa Bekele’s 2 hours 05 minutes and 03 seconds course record.
Other athletes in the men’s field include 2014 Toronto Marathon winner Laban Korir, Commonwealth silver medalist Stephen Chemlany, 2008 world indoor bronze medalist Abraham Feleke, 2015 Paris third-place finisher Seboka Tola, and 2008 Olympic 10,000m bronze medalist Micah Kogo.
In the women’s race Meseret Mengistu of Ethiopia, will return to the French Capital to defend her title she won last year.
However she will be up against Kenya’s Georgina Rono, Visiline Jepkesho, who finished third in Paris last year and Rebecca Kangogo Chesir.