Will Eliud Kipchoge win fourth London Marathon title?

By Dennis Okeyo: Sunday, April 28th 2019 at 00:15 GMT +3 | Athletics
Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge (left) and Britain’s Mo Farah pose for the media during a photo call in London on Wednesday. [AP]

The London Marathon takes centre stage tomorrow and all eyes will be on Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who is chasing a fourth title.

Though the London Marathon elite field features six sub-2:05 runners, the race is billed as a duel between Kipchoge and Mo Farah even though it also features the greatest female marathon field ever assembled in recent times.

Kipchoge’s statistics speak for themselves, the Kenyan has been beaten once over the marathon distance, and has chalked 10 wins including the 2016 Olympic victory and the record-breaking Berlin Marathon run. Also, there’s the 2:00:25 he ran at the non-record-eligible Breaking2 time trial in Monza, Italy in 2017.

If defending champion Kipchoge can win a fourth title today, he will become the first man to achieve a quartet of victories in the London Marathon whose course loops through the city with frequent changes of direction along the way.

However, Kipchoge admitted he had been impressed by Farah’s transition from the track to the marathon, stating the Briton’s progress would help him perform as well but he was not worried about him.

“I am coming to London to win the race and defend my title,” Kipchoge said during the press conference on Wednesday. “If I can win again in London, I will be a happy man because it will be my first race after running the world record.

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“I’m coming here to try to win the race but the world record is out of my mind right now. Sports is about enjoyment.”

He added: “Anybody can be beaten, Mo can beat me, others can beat me, but the best thing is that if you can accept the results, that’s the only way to enjoy the sport.

Apart from the Kipchoge and Farah duel, the field also boosts of several runners who can easily challenge for the title.

Wilson Kipsang, a two-time London winner with a Personal Best of 2:03:13 will be going for his third title.

Other Kenyans include Abraham Kiptum, the world half marathon record holder and 2017 champion Daniel Wanjiru.

 Vivian battles Keitany

On paper, Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew has the third fastest time of 2:04:00 after Kipchoge and Kipsang.

Other Ethiopians in the lineup include Gebrselassie Leule (2:04:02), Tamirat Tola (2:04:06), and Shura Kitata (2:04:49).

In the women field, Vivian Cheruiyot, the defending champion will face off with fellow countrywoman Mary Keitany who will be seeking her fourth London title.

“I am in better shape and if the weather and pace is good, I know I’m going to run my personal best,” Vivian said.

Keitany, 37, has said her primary objective is joining the Norwegian Ingrid Kristiansen who has won the event four times.  

“If I win on Sunday (tomorrow) it would be special for me,” said Keitany on Thursday. “I have won New York four times and London three times, so I want to win on Sunday (tomorrow) to match.”

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