By AYUMBA AYODI
Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai has joined the men’s elite field for the 2015 London Marathon, even as Ethiopia’s middle-distance running legend Kenenisa Bekele withdrew from the race.
Mutai, who won the New York Marathon in 2011 and 2013 in between his victory at the 2012 Berlin Marathon, set an unofficial world record when he won the 2011 Boston Marathon in 2:03:02, although the time was not accepted by the IAAF for official records because of the downhill Boston course.
He joins a field featuring current world record holder Dennis Kimetto and defending London champion Wilson Kipsang, plus the second fastest marathon runner in history, Emmanuel Mutai, reigning Chicago Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, and last year’s London Marathon runner-up Stanley Biwott.
The line-up features the three fastest marathon runners of all time, and six of the 10 quickest men in history. Mutai, who has a legal personal best of 2:04:15, is one of nine men to have run the gruelling 42km in under 2:05.
A training partner of Kipsang and Kimetto, the 33-year-old Kenyan was due to compete at the 2015 Tokyo Marathon on 22 February, but had to withdraw from the race because of a niggling injury. He has now trained his sights on the London race.
The 2009 Berlin World Championship Marathon bronze medallist, Ethiopian Aselefech Mergia (2:19:31), has also been included in the women’s race that has the Kenyan quartet of Edna Kiplagat (2:19:50), Mary Keitany (2:18:37), Priscah Jeptoo (2:20:14) and Florence Kiplagat (2:19:44).
Mergia returned from maternity leave to win the women’s race at the lucrative Dubai Marathon in January for a record third time, while her personal best of 2:19:31 makes her the third quickest on paper in a women’s field that has the last three London Marathon champions: Edna Kiplagat, Mary Keitany and Priscah Jeptoo.
Last year’s runner-up and the world half marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat is also set to feature.
Mergia will be eying great teamwork from fellow Ethiopian Tirfi Tsegaye, the 2014 Tokyo and Berlin Marathon champion, who is another new addition to the women’s roster.
Tsegaye broke the course record when she won the Tokyo Marathon last February, and ran a personal best of 2:20:18 to claim victory in Berlin last September.
Courtesy of nation.co.ke