NAIROBI, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Former Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda will skip the allure of big city marathons to focus on conquering the Hamburg course on April 23.
Kiprotich, who lost his title to Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge in Rio last year, has said he will be seeking a fast time in the German city and he seeks his first title in almost two years.
Speaking in Eldoret on Friday, where he is based training with Global Sports Camp in Kaptagat, Kiprotich said he is back to his best form and hope to have a good season in 2017.
"My next stop will be the world cross country championships at home in Kampala and then Hamburg marathon," he said.
Kiprotich, however, should not expect an easy run. The organizers have also confirmed that Ethiopian Tsegaye Mekonnen will be out to stop the Ugandan.
The Ugandan has the best time of 2:06:33 hours while Mekonnen had triumphed in 2014 at the Dubai Marathon in 2:04:32 hours.
"Both runners want to run a fast race under 2:05 hours," said Frank Thaleiser, the race director in an email statement.
There are also other runners from Ethiopia as well as from Kenya, who have already completed the half marathon under an hour.
"If the weather is going well and the runners have a good day, then it can really pop here," said Thaleiser. "It is the best field we have ever had in Hamburg."
Kiprotich's last main performance was last year in February in Tokyo marathon where he finished fourth clocking 2:07:46. In Rio Olympics he had to contend with 14 position (2:13:32) in a race won by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, whom they train together in Eldoret under the same camp.
Kiprotich became Uganda's first gold medalist - and medalist of any kind - in the Olympic Marathon, with his surprise victory at London in 2012.
He ended another string of Kenyan victories at the World Championships marathon in 2013 winning in Moscow World Championship, his last victory in the 42km distance.