Wanjiru, Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele and Mo Farah will be hoping to stop the Kenyan on Sunday.
Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge returns to the streets of London on Sunday eyeing the Sh15.8 million ($155,000) prize money in his quest for a third victory in the London Marathon.
Top runners will not only be battling for the honour of being called London Marathon champion, but also Sh5.5 million ($55,000) for the winner plus another Sh10 million for running sub two hours five minutes.
In addition to the above prizes, the runners achieving the men's course record of 2:03:05 will get another $25,000 (Sh2.5 million) and $125,000 (Sh12.5 million) for the world record.
So if Kipchoge could achieve all that, something that will be tough considering world records have always fallen in the ‘friendly’ Berlin Marathon course, then he could be coming back home Sh33 million richer, before tax of course.
Kipchoge will be battling against a rich men’s rich field that includes defending champion and compatriot Daniel Wanjiru, Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, a sub two hours three minutes runner, and Briton Mo Farah who will be making his second attempt at the event after struggling in 2014.
Also in the mix is two-time world marathon champion Abel Kirui and Bedan Karoki, the 2018 RAK Half Marathon winner who missed the IAAF Half Marathon in Valencia due to injury.
To show his preparedness for the weekend meeting, the 33-year-old Kipchoge posted on his official Twitter page: “Dedication, focus and hard work."
He won in 2:04:42 in 2015 and was back 12 months later, winning in 2:03:05, his Personal Best time, but was not available to defend his title last year as he was focused on the Nike Breaking2 project.
The 2013 5,000m world champion’s official best marathon time of 2:03:05 is the fourth-fastest in history. He came close to the world record again in Berlin in 2017, clocking 2:03:32 in wet conditions.
“Berlin Marathon was difficult because the weather conditions were not favourable, but my time showed I was in good shape. I feel like I’m in good form now,” Kipchoge said.
Wanjiru, a sub two hours four minutes runner, believes he has a chance to successfully defend his title.
“No one expected that I would win last year, but I believed, and I believe again this year. I have enjoyed my training, I remain focused, determined and motivated for the best,” Wanjiru, 25, said.
Meanwhile, Tanzanian Alphonce Simbu has withdrawn from the London Marathon after sustaining a hamstring injury.
Simbu ran a PB of 2:09:10 to finish fifth in last year’s elite men’s race behind Wanjiru and went on to clinch a World Championship bronze medal for Tanzania in London last August.
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