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BOSTON (CBS) – Six former champions will return to the Boston Marathon in April as part of this year’s international elite team, the Boston Athletic Association and John Hancock announced Thursday.

Leading the way on the men’s side are 2017 winner Geoffrey Kirui of Kenya, 2016 champ Lemi Berhanu of Ethiopia and 2015 and 2013 winner Lelisa Desisa.

men4 2018 Boston Marathon International Elite Team Led By 6 Former Champs

Geoffrey Kirui won the men’s 2017 Boston Marathon. (WBZ-TV)

2017 women’s champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya will also be back to defend her title. Joining her on the women’s international team are 2014 Boston winner and course record holder Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia and 2015 champ Caroline Rotich of Kenya.

winnerswithwade 2018 Boston Marathon International Elite Team Led By 6 Former Champs

2017 women’s Boston Marathon winner Edna Kiplagat and men’s marathon winner Geoffrey Kirui, both of Kenya, with WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton and David Wade. (Photo: E.Fisher/WBZ)

The American elite team was announced last month, with New York City Marathon champion Shalane Flanagan and Chicago Marathon winner Galen Rupp leading the group.

Two men were added to the U.S. team Thursday – Elkanah Kibet, the top American at the 2017 World Championships Marathon, and Timothy Ritchie, the 2017 U.S. National Marathon Champion.

You can read more about the international elite team announcement here.

You can watch live coverage of the Boston Marathon on WBZ-TV and CBS Boston.com on April 16, 2018.

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