Lelisa Desisa, Caroline Rotich aim to defend Boston Marathon titles

The elite professionals running the 2016 Boston Marathon were announced Wednesday, with defending champions Lelisa Desisa and Caroline Rotich joining former winners Geoffrey Mutai and Wesley Korir in a stacked field.

In all, the 120th running of the Boston Marathon will feature six men with personal bests under 2 hours, 5 minutes and 10 who have run under 2:06.

That group includes Kenyan runners Desisa and Mutai and expected challengers Yemane Tsegay (Ethiopia) and Wilson Chebet (Kenya), who finished second and third, respectively, last year in Boston.

Chicago Marathon runner-up Sammy Kitwara (Kenya) and 2014 Dubai Marathon champion Tsegaye Mekonnen (Ethiopia) have the second- and third-fastest personal bests in the field, respectively, and will make their Boston debuts this year.

Elite U.S. men include Ian Burrell, the top American at the World Marathon Championships, and 2014 U.S. 20K champion Girma Mecheso, who is making his Boston debut.

On the women's side, Rotich will take on 10 other runners with personal bests faster than 2:24, including 2012 Olympic Marathon gold medalist Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia, who is seeking a spot on her country's 2016 Olympic team in her Boston debut.

Buzunesh Deba (Ethiopia) returns to Boston after finishing second there in 2014 and third last year. Deba has won total marathons on U.S. soil, and is joined among the challengers by fellow Ethiopian and former Boston Athletic Association 10K and half-marathon champion Tirfi Tsegaye; three-time Olympian and two-time NYC Marathon winner Jelena Prokopcuka (Latvia); and 2014 Amsterdam and Honolulu winner Joyce Chekkirui.