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Kipchumba and Kipruto ready to conquer London Marathon

Ethiopia's Shura Kitata (left) beats Kenya's Vincent Kipchumba (right) and Ethiopia's Sisay Lemma (centre) at the finish of the elite men's race of the 2020 London Marathon in central London on October 4, 2020. [AP]

Two-time London Marathon runner-up Vincent Kipchumba will be back to the UK capital again this year after a back-to-back second place in 2020 and 2021-this time eying the crown.

Also named in the star-studded field for the October 2 London Marathon is World bronze medallist Amos Kipruto.

The two Kapsabet-based athletes will be clashing with defending Sisay Lemma of Ethiopia who will be in London to defend his 2021 title.

Kipchumba and Kipruto are the only Kenyan men named in the elite field, so far.

World record holder Eliud Kipchoge who has won the race four times, in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 is missing in the field. The two-time Olympic champion finished eighth in 2020.

Kipruto is taking to London his impressive second place at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. He surprisingly crossed the finish line behind Eliud Kipchoge.

“I am glad to announce that on October 2, I will be among the elite athletes at the London Marathon. Once again, I will try the best I can to honour this opportunity,” Kipruto said on his social media pages on Thursday.

It will be the third time the London Marathon, which is run traditionally in April, will be staged in October since the Covid-19 disrupted sporting events across the globe.

The men’s elite field features three of the five fastest men in the history of the marathon and promises to be a show characteristic of surprises.

Lemma, the defending champion, had raced 21 times over the marathon distance before his victory in London last year.

The Kenyan squad will be facing a marathon star (Lemma) who had previously racked up wins in a number of 42km races such as Frankfurt and Vienna and finished third in three different Abbott World Marathon Majors, including the London Marathon in 2020.

They will also battle for the title with Olympic bronze medallist and European marathon record holder Bashir Abdi of Belgium. He has a 2:03:36 personal best.

Another surprising factor on October 2 will be the return of Great Britain’s Sir Mo Farah–a former world and Olympic champion. Farah trains with Abdi, the Belgian star.

The 31-year-old will be eager to show the victory was not a one-off by defending his title at this year’s TCS London Marathon, but he faces competition from an incredible line-up of athletes, including three countrymen who are among the fastest ever marathon runners.

At 40, Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele; the second-fastest marathoner in history (2:01:41) behind Kipchoge, will also highlight the elite field.