BOSTON (CBS) – 2011 Boston Marathon champions Geoffrey Mutai and Caroline Kilel of Kenya will be defending their titles in 2012.

Both runners will return for the 116th running of the Boston Marathon on April 16, John Hancock Financial announced Thursday.

“I want to return to Boston to defend my title,” said Mutai. “I very much liked the race in 2011, because I made the best time ever run in the marathon.”

“I have chosen the Boston Marathon because, of course, I had a good experience by winning in 2011,” said Kilel. “I hope I can do the same this year.”

Read: 2011 Boston Marathon Winners

Mutai ran the fastest marathon in history at last year’s race, prevailing against a highly competitive field without the aid of pacesetters. In a thrilling duel to the finish, Mutai outkicked his teammate Moses Mosop in the final meters to break the tape in a World’s Best 2:03:02 to Mosop’s 2:03:06.

After his Boston win, Mutai also set the course record in New York, competing the race in 2:05:06. With that double crown, he became the first man in history to break course records in Boston and New York City in the same year.

Marathon Photos: The Trill & The Agony

Boston’s 2011 women’s race was equally exciting as Kilel traded the lead with American Desiree Davila several times down the finishing stretch of Boylston Street. Kilel won by just two seconds over Davila for the 2:22:36 win.

The close finish marked the fourth consecutive year the women’s race in Boston had been decided by three seconds or less.


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