The London Marathon elite men’s field includes the top five finishers from 2015, five men who have gone sub-2:05 and 16 who have clocked times quicker than 2:10, while Britons will battle for Rio 2016 spots

Last year Eliud Kipchoge stormed to victory at the Virgin Money London Marathon, beating the likes of two-time winner Wilson Kipsang and world record-holder Dennis Kimetto. On April 24 the Kenyan trio returns to the British capital to form part of a stellar elite men’s field which also includes their fellow countryman Stanley Biwott and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele.

There are also 13 British athletes in the field, with competition set to be fierce as the race acts as the trial for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Kipchoge beat former world record-holder Kipsang by five seconds in 2015, with Kimetto left to race for third place. The winning time of 2:04:42 just missed Kipsang’s course record of 2:04:29 from 2014, and Kipchoge went on to win the Berlin Marathon last September in a 2:04:00 PB to move to sixth on the all-time list behind Kimetto’s 2:02:57 and Kipsang’s 2:03:23.

Back in 2003, Kipchoge out-kicked world mile record-holder Hicham El Guerrouj and Olympic track legend Bekele to take the world 5000m title and then in 2014 he won the Chicago Marathon, beating a field which again included the Ethiopian. Bekele struggled with injury last year but the three-time Olympic track gold medallist, who on his debut won the 2014 Paris Marathon, again steps up to take on 26.2 miles.

Also in the field, which includes five men who have gone sub-2:05 and 16 who have clocked times quicker than 2:10, is Eritrea’s Beijing world champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, Ukraine’s nine-time Euro Cross champion Serhiy Lebid and German record-holder Arne Gabius, while Kenya’s Bedan Karoki makes his marathon debut.

“It was fantastic to win the Virgin Money London Marathon last year against one of the greatest fields ever assembled in marathon running,” said Kipchoge. “This year I will come back to London to compete again with the world’s best athletes. I will work hard to defend my title in London and, together with Wilson, Dennis, Stanley and those from other countries, make it a fast and wonderful race.

“I want to thank the organisation for again bringing the best athletes in marathon running together in London, it’s great for our sport.”

Among the British athletes in London will be Scott Overall and Callum Hawkins, who have both already achieved the GB qualifying standard for Rio. The first two eligible athletes will be automatically nominated for the Olympics, so long as they have also achieved the 2:14 qualifying mark.

Overall and Hawkins will be joined by Chris Thompson, Lee Merrien, Derek Hawkins, Phil Wicks, Ben Moreau, Ian Kimpton, Matthew Hynes, John Beattie and Andrew Davies, while Jonathan Hay and Ryan McLeod are set to make their marathon debuts.

The elite women’s field was announced last week and includes Tigist Tufa, Mary Keitany, Mare Dibaba, Florence Kiplagat and Gladys Cherono.

Virgin Money London Marathon 2016 elite men’s field with personal bests:

Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) 2:04:00
Dennis Kimetto (KEN) 2:02:57
Wilson Kipsang (KEN) 2:03:23
Endeshaw Negesse (ETH) 2:04:52
Stanley Biwott (KEN) 2:04:55
Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 2:05:04
Tilahun Regassa (ETH) 2:05:27
Abera Kuma (ETH) 2:05:56
Samuel Tsegay (ERI) 2:07:28
Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (ERI) 2:07:47
Amanuel Mesel (ERI) 2:08:17
Serhiy Lebid (UKR) 2:08:32
Arne Gabius (GER) 2:08:33
Tewelde Estifanos (ERI) 2:09:16
Ghebrezgiabhier Kibrom (ERI) 2:09:36
Vitaliy Shafar (UKR) 2:09:58
Marcin Chabowski (POL) 2:10:07
Scott Overall (GBR) 2:10:55
Chris Thompson (GBR) 2:11:14
Yuki Sato (JPN) 2:12:12
Callum Hawkins (GBR) 2:12:17
Nordstad Moen (NOR) 2:12:54
Andrew Lemoncello (GBR) 2:13:40
Lee Merrien (GBR) 2:13:41
Derek Hawkins (GBR) 2:14:04
Shawn Forrest (AUS) 2:14:37
Kevin Seaward (IRL) 2:14:52
Phil Wicks (GBR) 2:15:37
Paul Pollock (IRL) 2:15:38
Ben Moreau (GBR) 2:15:52
Ian Kimpton (GBR) 2:15:55
Matthew Hynes (GBR) 2:16:00
John Beattie (GBR) 2:16:38
Jonathan Mellor (GBR) 2:16:52
Andrew Davies (GBR) 2:16:55
Stephen Scullion (IRL) 2:34:33
Bedan Karoki (KEN) Debut
Gervais Hakizimana (RWA) Debut
Jonathan Hay (GBR) Debut
Ryan McLeod (GBR) Debut
Alejandro Fernandez Martin (ESP) Debut