Cape Town - Distance runner Hendrick Ramaala has been added to the elite men's field for the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, and is now the fastest man in a quality line-up for the re-launched race.
Ramaala, who won the New York Marathon in 2004, holds the second quickest time in South African history after clocking 2:06:55 in London in April 2006.
"Good news for the race is that Ramaala will run, plus two more IAAF Gold Label athletes (yet to be revealed), so it's really exciting," said race ambassador Elana Meyer.
Meyer also confirmed that national 10km champion Stephen Mokoka, who had been in talks with organisers about setting the pace for the marathon field, would compete in the 10km race instead.
Ramaala is among six men already included in the start list who have gone under 2:10:00 in their careers.
And while he has been well below his best over the last few years, he was hoping for a solid performance in his first 42km race in South Africa, four months after finishing second in his ultra-marathon debut at the Two Oceans 56km race in Cape Town.
"I've continued training since Two Oceans and I'm in good shape," he said.
"I'm not in the same form I used to be, but I'm in shape to race, and I'm looking forward to testing myself against the youngsters."
All Ramaala's previous 42km races, in his 14-year marathon career, have been run overseas.
"It's a new thing for me, not having to travel 10 or 12 hours to a marathon," he said.
"I can rest at home, eat local food, and I don't need a week to acclimatise."