Kenya's Geoffrey Kirui is determined to win a second consecutive Boston Marathon title when he takes to the streets of New England on 16 April, having cut short his hiatus to train, and also skipping the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Kirui won the 2017 Boston event in a time of 2:09.37, just 21 seconds ahead of Galen Rupp of the USA.
This year, the Kenyan will have to contend with the likes of half marathon world record holder Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea, and Kenya's seasoned trio of Bernard Kimani, Dominic Kiptarus, and Wilson Kiprono Too.
"I know it will not be easy this year because every athlete will want to beat me," Kirui told KweséESPN.
"It is always very tough winning a Marathon title for two straight years, but I am very determined and hungry to make this happen.
"Winning a second Boston Marathon title attracts me."
The 24-year old, who is training in the Kenyan town of Eldoret, has embarked upon a training programme that worked wonders in the past, though he expects much more competition this year because several athletes have improved their times.
"But to win a race, you must be the best," he countered.
Meanwhile, top Ugandan runners Stephen Kiprotich, who won marathon gold at the 2012 London Olympics, Solomon Munyo Mutai, and Moses Kipsiro will not take part in the Boston Marathon.
Kiprotich will instead take part in the Hamburg Marathon, while Mutai is nursing an injury that will also keep him out of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.