Two elite Kenyan runners will be among the sold-out field taking on this month’s Barnstaple Marathon.

Nicholas Koech and Timon Cheruiyot will be among 1,100 runners on the start line for this year’s event on September 27, being held to help raise money for the Autism Smile Centre in Bideford and Children’s Hospice South West.

Koech, aged 31, won the 2011 Prague Marathon in two hours and seven minutes, while 21-year-old Cheruiyot has a half marathon personal best of 61 minutes.

The unlikely visitors were invited by race director Simon Haywood, who visited Kenya for a two-week training camp in March.

“While there, I came up with the idea of trying to get two Kenyan runners to Barnstaple for this year’s race,” he said.

“They will be visiting local schools to talk about life in Kenya as an athlete and will be coaching at North Devon Road Runners.

“I have negotiated a one-year professional contract for both runners with RunFast, which they will get if they run sub 2.12 at Barnstaple. Their future really is in their hands.”

Although the race is now full, it will present a wonderful sight for spectators.

Roads will be closed and in Rock Park there will be entertainment for all the family, including music, bouncy castles, face painting and food and drink.

Are you running the Barnstaple Marathon? Get in touch by calling 01271 341627 or email elliot.anderton@archant.co.uk