World record-holder to return to the UK capital in April alongside Mo Farah and 2018 runner-up Shura Kitata
World record-holder and defending champion Eliud Kipchoge is to return to the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 28, creating a mouth-watering clash with Britain’s Mo Farah.
Kipchoge claimed his third London Marathon title last year, when Farah finished third, and the Kenyan went on to smash the world marathon record in Berlin with a time of 2:01:39, while Farah won his maiden marathon title at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, running a European record of 2:05:11.
They will now go head-to-head once again on the streets of the UK capital and they will be joined by Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata, who also claimed a podium place at last year’s race, finishing runner-up to Kipchoge with a time of 2:04:49 as well as second in the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon.
Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang is the only athlete to have ever beaten Kipchoge in the marathon, when he broke the world record in Berlin in 2013 with his time of 2:03:23 ahead of Kipchoge’s 2:04:05 for the runner-up spot. The former world record-holder and two-time London champion also returns, with his sights set on completing a hat-trick in the UK capital.
Abraham Kiptum will also feature, with the Kenyan having broken the world half-marathon record with 58:18 in Valencia in October.
“It is always a great honour to come and race the Virgin Money London Marathon and I’m excited to be returning in 2019,” said Kipchoge.
“I had a memorable 2018, winning the Virgin Money London Marathon and then setting a new world record at the BMW Berlin Marathon. I’m hoping that 2019 is just as good to me.
“I am looking forward to racing Sir Mo Farah again,” added the 34-year-old Olympic champion.
“He is a great champion and proved in Chicago that he can win a major marathon so I relish the battle with him and also the many other great athletes that I’m sure will once again be on the start line in London.”
Considered the greatest marathon runner of all time, Kipchoge has an unbeaten record at the London Marathon with his three victories in 2015, 2016 and 2018 and he set the course record of 2:03:05 in 2016.
Should he claim one more title, he will become the most successful athlete in the elite men’s race in London Marathon history.
But Farah is not shying away from the challenge and last year voiced his hopes for a rematch with the Kenyan.
“I want to race against everybody,” said the Briton. “Bring in Eliud, bring in whoever you can – let’s make the best race. Let’s see what we can do.” (Read more here.)
Hugh Brasher, London Marathon event director, said: “There is no doubt that Eliud Kipchoge is the greatest marathon runner of all time.
“His world record at the BMW Berlin Marathon was a legendary sporting moment and one more win at the Virgin Money London Marathon would make him the most successful athlete in the history of the elite men’s race in our event’s illustrious history.
“Since Sir Mo Farah won the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October, everyone has been talking about another head-to-head between Mo and Eliud and we are absolutely thrilled that this showdown will happen at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.
“We will see two absolute legends of distance running competing over 26.2 miles of roads in the greatest marathon in the world. I cannot wait until Sunday 28 April to see who comes out on top.”
» This post has been updated following the announcement of Wilson Kipsang and Abraham Kiptum in the elite men’s field