The fastest woman ever over 42.2km, Brigid Kosgei, will be back to defend her title at the London Marathon on 3 October, with Shura Kitata also looking to retain his crown.
Neither have much downtime, having both competed at the Olympics at the weekend. Kosgei won silver for Kenya, giving her less than two months to prepare for another shot at London glory and a third successive victory at the event.
Although confirmed on the initial entry list, there may be a slight doubt over Kitata’s fitness, after the Ethiopian pulled out of the race in Tokyo with around 10km because of a hamstring issue.
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Kosgei is a two-time champion, having won on the traditional course and last year’s lapped route through St James’s Park, held without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic. This will be the first time in two years that the iconic marathon will return to its usual surroundings.
More names are still to be added, including the British runners, raising hopes that there may yet still be the possibility of a mega-race between Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele, which has been promised for some time but although previously arranged, has never come to fruition.
Kosgei, who broke Paula Radcliffe’s world record at the Chicago Marathon by running 2:14:04 in 2019, says she cannot wait to get back to London.
“It is a great feeling to be coming back, as London is one of my favourite marathons,” she said.
Last year’s win was very special, particularly given what the whole world was going through – it was fantastic just to have the London Marathon organised and even more so to be the winner. I hope to arrive again in very good shape and win for the third time.
As for Kitata, he is hopeful that he will overcome this issue which hampered him in Japan: “I was disappointed to have to pull out of the Olympic Games marathon but I just did not adapt to the weather well.
“It was very cold in Ethiopia prior to leaving for Tokyo and when we got there the weather took its toll on my body and made my breathing very hard.
“But I’m healthy and looking forward to racing in the Virgin Money London Marathon again. I am preparing very well and my coach has me very ready to defend my title in London.”
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