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Boston Marathon Champ To Defend His Title

The 2012 Summer Olympics could take some of the luster off the 116th Boston Marathon in April, but the word is, the man who ran the world's fastest-ever marathon in the 2011 race will return to defend his title.

The marathon's main sponsor, John Hancock, says Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai, who ran the race last year in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 2 seconds, will toe the starting line in Hopkington again on April 16. Mutai's time is not considered the official world record because of the nature of the point-to-point Boston course. He also won last year's New York Marathon in November, setting a course record of 2:05:06.

The defending women's champion, Kenyan Caroline Kilel, is also coming back. Her win last April was one of the most thrilling in the long history of this race. Kilel and American Desiree Davila traded the lead back and forth as they surged down Boylston Street before Kilel won by two seconds, in 2:22:36.

Davila's time of 2:22:38 was the fastest ever by an American woman at Boston.

You probably won't see Davila, Kara Goucher or any of the other prominent American men like Ryan Hall, in this year's Boston Marathon, because they will be running in the Olympic Marathon Trials races Jan. 14 in Houston, hoping to qualify for London. The qualifiers in those races will most likely not run another marathon until the Olympic Marathons in London.

The women's Olympic Marathon is Aug. 5, the men's race is Aug. 12. It's interesting to note that Geoffrey Mutai might not even be on the Kenyan team that runs the marathon in London. That's how deep the Kenyans marathoners are.

This program aired on January 5, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Alex Ashlock Twitter Producer, Here & Now
Alex Ashlock has been a producer for Here & Now since 2005. He started his WBUR career as senior producer of Morning Edition in 1998.

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