Four-time champion Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot of Kenya and women’s winner Dire Tune of Ethiopia will both return for the 113th running of the race on April 20.

“Boston is one of my favorite races, and I am training as hard as I can to try to win for the fifth time if possible and run my best time,” said Cheruiyot

The winner in 2003 and 2006-08, Cheruiyot is the youngest man and first Kenyan to win four Boston Marathons. Last year, he won the race after surging off the Newton hills and away from his competitors. He crossed the finish line in a commanding lead, just 32 seconds off his 2006 course record of 2:07:14.

In a memorable 2007 race, Cheruiyot battled the remnants of a stormy Nor’easter to claim his third win and secure the inaugural World Marathon Majors Series title. The series, now entering its third two-year cycle, brings together the best athletes in the world to compete in Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.

Cheruiyot shares the honor of at least four Boston wins with Gerard Cote and Bill Rodgers (4 wins each) and Clarence DeMar (7 wins).  He is also the only man to win marathons in Boston and Chicago in the same year (2006) and was the 2002 Milan City Marathon champion.

Boston’s 2008 women’s champion, 22-year old Dire Tune of Ethiopia, prevailed in the tightest race in Boston Marathon history last year as she found herself ahead of former champions Lidiya Grigoryeva and Rita Jeptoo. With great resolve, Tune triumphed in a back-and-forth duel over the closing miles with Russian Alevtina Biktimirova to win by two seconds in 2:25:25. 

“Since I was a young girl, I always dreamed to come and compete in the Boston Marathon,” said Tune. “My dream came true not only to come to Boston, but to win. Now I have an unbelievable determination to defend my title.”

In 2008, Tune also won the Houston Marathon, established the world record for the One Hour Run (18.517km), finished 15th at the Beijing Olympic Marathon, and placed seventh in New York City.  She is also the 2007 Houston Marathon winner and the 2006 Hong Kong Marathon winner.

“As we once again fulfill our promise to the city of Boston and surrounding communities to support this great race, we are very pleased that the Boston Marathon can provide such a tremendous positive economic effect on the region, particularly during the challenging economic times that we all face now. This race will generate a direct and indirect economic impact estimated at $95 million for Boston and the region,” said John D. DesPrez III, president and chief executive officer of John Hancock Financial, the event’s chief sponsor.