A host of top international athletes will be heading to York on October 12th for the second Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon.

The race promises to be hotly-contested as a strong elite field competes for an impressive total prize pot of £12,000.

Among those hoping to cross the line first this year is Girma Assefa, of Ethiopia. He boasts a PB of 2:07:46 gained in Paris in 2011, the year he also won the Mumbai Marathon.

Girma, who will be making his UK race debut, said: “My training partners and friends have run in London and Newcastle and I have heard of the great welcome for them. I am looking forward to the race in Yorkshire. If it is dry and good conditions there is no reason why the course record cannot be broken.”

The lead group is also expected to include Cosmas Kigen, of Kenya, another runner taking part in his first UK race.

Cosmas, who has a PB of 2:09:43 achieved in Cologne in 2011, said: “I have never been to the UK but so many great road races occur there. This is a wonderful opportunity for me and I look forward to the 2nd Yorkshire marathon. I hope, like Edwin Korir last year, to win the race.”

He will face stiff competition from 31-year-old Linus Maiyo, of Kenya, who ran 2:11:34 in last year’s Barcelona Marathon to finish 3rd.

Linus excelled over the 10k distance early in his career and has a 10K PB of 27:36. He has made a strong transition to half marathon and marathon events, running 2:11:59 at 5,000ft altitude in the 2011 Nairobi Standard Chartered Marathon.

Great Britain’s Tomas Abyo - PB 2:10:37 – will be hoping to repeat his Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon success of last year when he finished 3rd and was the first British runner home.

Kenyan Boniface Kiprop Kongin, 24, is another high class runner in the field. Boniface, who made a winning debut for Team Run-Fast in the 2013 Poole Festival of Running 10k, was also victorious in last year’s Torbay Half Marathon.

Among the British runners to watch is Leeds-born Dave Webb, 32, who now lives in Wiltshire. While studying at Birmingham University, Dave enjoyed a great deal of success on the track before switching to road racing. He made a stunning debut at the Seville Marathon in 2010, clocking 2:15:42 and followed this up in 2011 at the World Marathon Championships in Korea, his top 20 position earning him a place in the Great Britain marathon team for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Injury forced Dave to pull out of the team. He made his return to the marathon in 2013 in Frankfurt where he ran a strong race and earned himself a new PB of 2:15:21.

Among the career highlight’s of England’s Tom Payn is a time of 2:17:29 clocked in 2009 when he finished 12th – the second European runner home – in the Fukuoka International Marathon. His many other titles include 2013 Essex Cross Country Champion, 2012 Bucharest International Half Marathon Champion and 2007 Barcelona 10K Champion.

The male elite field also features Paul Martelletti, a member of the Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets Club in London, who clocked a PB of 2:16:49 in Berlin in 2011.

Frashiah Nyambura Waithaka, of Kenya, is a strong contender to be the first woman across the finish line at York. Earlier this year she clocked a PB of 2:32:26 to take first place in the Barcelona Marathon.

Born in the Nyandarua district of Kenya on March 18th 1978, Frashiah is the middle child of five, with two older sisters and two younger brothers. She began running in her final year of primary school in 1995. After completing her education, Frashaiah took up running full time, turning professional to earn a living doing what she loves most while supporting her siblings.

To take first prize she will have to overcome the challenge of Ethiopia’s Bayrush Shiferaw, who has a PB of 2:38:47 and was the winner of this year’s Belfast Marathon.

She said: “I liked the UK when I was here earlier in the year and I want to return to win my next race. The Yorkshire Marathon has been my focus for the past three months’ training and I am feeling confident.”

Back for another crack at the race is England’s Holly Rush, who finished second last year and describes herself as “predominantly an Ultra Runner, but still running marathons as part of my training.”

She has a marathon PB of 2:37, achieved in Zurich, and was the winner of last year’s Edinburgh and Pisa marathons. In her first Ultra – the 2013 Comrades – Holly finished 7th and this year was first in the UltraVasen 90K, clocking a time of 7:09:04.

There should be strong support for York’s Becky Penty, a former member of City of York Athletic Club, who has a PB of 2:36:19 achieved in Berlin in 2011. A former winner of York’s Brass Monkey Half Marathon and the Asda Foundation York 10K, Becky recently returned to York after spending six years in London working for Sport England. She now works in her family’s business – grain merchants Campbell and Penty Ltd.

Becky said: “I am very much looking forward to running the marathon. I've heard great things about the atmosphere and support along the course which I will be relying on to help me along.”

Last year’s Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon winner was Kenya’s Edwin Korir who took first place with a time of 2:13:31. Helen Koskei, also of Kenya, was the first woman home in 2:40:06.