The Olympic champion is to return to race on the streets of the UK capital in 2018

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge will return to the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 22 looking to make it a hat-trick of wins in the UK capital.

The Kenyan was just eight seconds off the world record of 2:02:57 when retaining his title in 2016 and he clocked 2:04:42 when winning the year before.

“The Virgin Money London Marathon is a race that holds very special memories for me. I won it in 2015 and 2016 and both are days that I will never forget,” said Kipchoge, who went on to win the Olympic marathon title in Rio before becoming the fastest marathoner in history with 2:00:25 clocked in Monza during a Breaking2 attempt that cannot be ratified for record purposes.

“I came so close to breaking the world record in 2016 and it is natural for anyone in that situation to think of what might have been. But that race gave me the confidence to go on and win the Olympic title in Rio and run so well throughout 2017.”

His most recent race over 26.2 miles was the BMW Berlin Marathon in September when he again went close to the world record, this time finishing in 2:03:32 – 36 seconds off the mark set by his countryman Dennis Kimetto in Berlin in 2014.

“I feel like I’m in good form,” said Kipchoge. “Berlin was difficult because the weather was not good but my time showed I was in the right shape.

“As ever with marathon running, everything needs to come right on the day. The competition is always tough in London so I must wait and see how well I train and what the weather will be. I know that I have the world record in me so we will have to wait and see what happens.”

Kipchoge is the second athlete announced for the elite men’s field for London next April after Britain’s 10-time global track gold medallist Mo Farah.

Farah is following a well-trodden path from the track to the marathon, with Kipchoge by far the most successful convert of his generation.

Kipchoge, who won four global medals over 5000m on the track including world gold in 2003, said: “It does take time to make that switch but I’m sure Mo will be successful. It’s great he will be racing the London Marathon next year because I’m sure that will make the atmosphere even more special.”