Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata will be the star to watch at the 41st edition of the London Marathon that will be held on 3rd October in London.
Kitata who pulled out of the Olympic Games marathon last weekend after suffering in the hot and humid conditions in Sapporo – will line up with the other men who joined by Vincent Kipchumba from Kenya and Sisay Lemma from Ethiopia, who also struggled in the heat of the Olympic Games marathon.
Shura beat Eliud Kipchoge in the 2020 London Marathon to secure his first London Marathon title, just a second ahead of Vincent Kipchumba.
The two will be joined by the 2020 Valencia Marathon champion, Evans Chebet who was the fastest man in the world last year with his personal best of 2:03.00.Another title contender is the two-time Tokyo Marathon champion Birhanu Legese from Ethiopia, who is the third-fastest marathoner of all time with a time of 2:02.48 that he got at the 2019 Berlin Marathon.
Kitata will also face-off with Mosinet Geremew and Mule Wasihun both coming to the race with a personal best of 2:02.55 and 2:03.16) respectively. This two also finished on the podium at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, also return.
Kitata was quoted by race organisers saying,“I was disappointed to have to pull out of the Olympic Games marathon but I just did not adapt to the weather well. It was very cold in Ethiopia prior to leaving for Tokyo and when we got there the weather took its toll on my body and made my breathing very hard. But I’m healthy and looking forward to racing in the Virgin Money London Marathon again. I am preparing very well and my coach has me very ready to defend my title in London.
“Winning last year was an unforgettable memory and it gave me huge excitement to bring back such a big victory to my country and to make my family and coaches proud. I have set my mind on how I can run fast and better than last year and I’m looking forward to seeing if I can repeat the victory and make history in the race.”
Virgin Money London Narathon event director, Hugh Brasher, said: “We are delighted to welcome our reigning champions back to defend their titles at the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon and, as always, they will be challenged by a stellar field of the world’s best marathon runners. Sunday 3 October is set to be an extraordinary day in our history as these great athletes lead the way as tens of thousands of mass runners take on their 26.2 mile challenge from Greenwich to Westminster and around the world in the virtual event.”
The organisers have allowed a limit of up to 50,000 runners in the mass race and up to 50,000 around the world to take on the virtual event, completing the 26.2 miles on the route of their choice any time between 00:00 and 23:59:59 BST.