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Grandma's Marathon 2011: Defending Men's Champion Withdraws From Race

Long-distance running generally is not a sport that lends itself to guarantees, but this one is pretty much set in stone.

The men's side of the Grandma's Marathon is guaranteed to have a new winner in 2011.

Defending men's champion Philemon Kemboi, a native of Kenya, has been forced to withdraw from the 35th annual running of Grandma's Marathon due to visa problems, according to the Duluth News Tribune. The withdrawl was confirmed by race officials on Tuesday.

The thirty-seven year old Kemboi won the 2010 Grandma's Marathon with a time of two hours, fifteen minutes, and forty-four seconds. He defeated his fellow countryman, Chris Kipyego, by sixteen seconds to take home the crown.

The two men that were champions before Kemboi will be entered in the race, as 2008 champion Lamech Mokono, another Kenyan, and 2009 champion Christopher Raabe, a Minnesota resident living in Washington, D.C., are both entered in this year's running.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.