(Reuters) - Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge will make return to the road race circuit at the 2017 Berlin Marathon in September having come agonizingly close to breaking the two-hour barrier at Monza in May.
The 32-year-old opted out of defending his title at the London Marathon in April and will also miss the August world championships in London after focusing on the Nike Breaking2 project.
Kipchoge ran the quickest recorded marathon time at Monza, crossing the line in two hours and 24 seconds, though his time is not an official world record due to aspects of the event not satisfying IAAF criteria.
He will be joined on the start line in Berlin by compatriot Wilson Kipsang, who broke the official world record there in 2013.
The last six men's world records have been set at the pancake-flat course in the German capital, including the current mark of 2:02:57 by Dennis Kimetto in 2014.
Kipchoge is a former 5,000 meters world champion and his official best marathon time of 2:03:05 set in London last year is the fourth-fastest in history.
In the women's field, defending champion Aberu Kebede of Ethiopia will be joined by compatriots Amane Beriso, Gulume Tollesa and Meseret Mengistu. Gladys Cherono, the 2015 winner, will feature alongside fellow Kenyan Valary Aiyabei.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Mitch Phillips)