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The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has officially been confirmed as an Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) candidate race – the first marathon in Africa to be nominated.

The announcement marks the commencement of a multi-year evaluation process conducted by AbbottWMM.
In order to become a Major, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon will be required to meet certain criteria for three years and if successful, will join an elite group of races – Tokyo Marathon, Boston Marathon, Virgin Money London Marathon, BMW-BERLIN Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon and TCS New York City Marathon – as a new member of the prestigious Abbott World Marathon Majors in 2025.

“We have always believed that the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon could be Africa’s first Abbott World Marathon Major, so becoming a candidate race is a tremendous honour”, said Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Chairman, Francois Pienaar at the announcement event at Cape Town Stadium.

“It acknowledges the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon as a global event that has consistently delivered a top quality world-class race, and one that continuously innovates and creates world-first initiatives like the immersive audio experience during the 2020 virtual race.

“Becoming an Abbott World Marathon Major would be like hosting a world championship event every single year, and achieving this status would be a tremendous boost for the city, country and continent. Africa is home to the best marathon runners in the world and we hope they will get the opportunity to run an Abbott World Marathon Major on home turf in the coming years.”

Headline sponsor Sanlam is celebrating its eighth sponsorship year and is equally thrilled at the prospect of the event becoming a jewel in the AbbottWMM crown.
Sydney Mbhele, Chief Executive of Sanlam Brand, says: “This is our eighth year as headline sponsor of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and we have always believed deeply in the vision for this race – to become Africa’s first Abbott World Marathon Major. Africa is our home, this is our race and we are absolutely committed to investing in the potential of this wonderful continent. Our purpose is to help people across Africa live with confidence and this race is the perfect way to foster the growth of Africa’s economy, and to showcase our people’s unparalleled potential.  Creating a lasting legacy for generations to come is a vision and dream we share with all our partners.

“And now we are celebrating coming a step closer. The collective confidence that the continent will garner from hosting an event of this stature will deliver value in many ways, enabling us to benefit economically and socially from a world-class event. We extend our sincerest congratulations to all of our partners who have worked tirelessly to elevate the event to this level. We have no doubt that in just three short years, we will tick all the boxes and have the honour of hosting the continent’s first major on home soil.”

Cape Town is a port city on the tip of South Africa’s southwest coast that is overlooked by the world-renowned Table Mountain, an official New7Wonder of Nature. It is consistently rated as one of the world’s most beautiful cities and most popular tourist destinations – renowned for its exquisite natural beauty, sweeping vistas, beaches, family friendly activities and some of the best restaurants in the world.

Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato said that this candidacy means a lot for Cape Town, South Africa and Africa, and will further solidify the Mother City’s reputation as a sports capital. “We are proud to be the host of SA and Africa’s first Abbott World Marathon Majors Candidate and wholeheartedly support the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon in the coming years.

“We know that these evaluation years will already offer a tremendous economic boost for Cape Town and its residents, and expect an annual influx of approximately 10,000 international athletes and their supporters in the coming years – especially once the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon earns Abbott World Marathon Major status. We can’t wait to welcome more recreational and elite marathoners to Cape Town; it’s time to show the world how we run a marathon to the African beat.”

Pienaar noted that the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon already meets many of the requirements set by the Abbott World Marathon Majors, and that continued enhancements will be made to the race. This also includes a new strategic partnership with Infront, the media and marketing specialists who will join the event on this exciting journey, noted Pienaar. “We are pulling out all the stops to achieve these goals, and are excited to receive the support from our runners, spectators, sponsors and the City to make this dream a reality.”

Hans-Peter Zurbruegg, Senior Vice President Personal & Corporate Fitness at Infront, said: “We are happy to become a shareholder of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon and we fully buy into the ambition to reach AbbottWMM status by 2025. This is exciting news for the city of Cape Town, South Africa and Africa. Our direct involvement forms part of our growing ambition to further enter the African market and will both strengthen our relationship with the AbbottWMM as well as support future business opportunities.”

Added James Moloi, President of Athletics South Africa: “This is an important step in the history of road-running in the country and Africa as a whole. It will be a significant recognition which would elevate the race to another prestigious level.”

Tim Hadzima, Executive Director, Abbott World Marathon Majors said, “The Abbott World Marathon Majors are delighted to welcome the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon into the candidate process from 2022. This presents an exciting opportunity to expand our impact into Africa and further our mission to create, grow and support opportunities for all to discover the power of the marathon community. We look forward to working closely with the team in Cape Town as we start this journey together!”

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has been growing in popularity for the better part of the last decade, with its route offering spectacular ocean scenery and mountain views, while passing many of the City’s great attractions from its famous street art to its iconic historical features – including City Hall, where Nelson Mandela delivered his first public speech as a free man in 1990.

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon was awarded the prestigious World Athletics Gold Label Status for the fourth consecutive year in 2020 – the only marathon on the African continent and one of only a select group of marathons in the world to have this status.

In addition to the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, China’s Chengdu Marathon is also currently an AbbottWMM candidate race. The Singapore Marathon recently dropped out of the process.

The 2021 Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is scheduled to take place on 17 October 2021. Entries are open at www.capetownmarathon.com.

Keitany targets to regain New York Marathon title

Kenyan Mary Keitany will be targeting a fourth victory at the TCS New York City Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label race, on 4 November.

Keitany and her compatriot, 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot, will join previously announced Shalane Flanagan, the 2017 winner, and 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden of the US in a race that features 10 Olympians and three Abbott World Marathon Majors race champions.

Keitany, 36, is the women’s only marathon record-holder who finished runner-up in this race last year after notching three successive titles. In 2016, she had a dominating performance in which she surged ahead at Mile 14 to finish the course on a solo run in 2:24:26. Her 3:34 margin of victory was the greatest in the women’s race since 1980, and she became the first able-bodied runner since Grete Waitz to win the event three years in a row.

“I was disappointed not to defend my title last year, but I was not 100 percent healthy and Shalane ran a strong race,” said Keitany, the 2012 and 2016 World Marathon Majors champion. In April 2017, Keitany won her third London Marathon title, breaking the women’s only marathon record in a blistering time of 2:17:01.

Joining Keitany from the international side will be two Ethiopians, reigning IAAF World Half Marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta and Mamitu Daska, who finished third in New York last year.

Molly Huddle, who was third in New York in 2016, 2018 Boston Marathon runner-up Sarah Sellers, 2016 New York runner-up Sally Kipyego, and 2017 fifth-place finisher Allie Kieffer are also in the line-up.

Callum Hawkins to face Mo Farah on Monday at Vitality London 10,000m

CALLUM Hawkins will return to racing for the first time since collapsing whilst leading the Commonwealth Games marathon when he takes on Mo Farah over 10,000m at the Vitality London 10,000m this bank holiday Monday.

The 25-year-old, who was on course for victory when he fell over just a mile out from the finish line on a scorching day on the Gold Coast, has been training in Glasgow since and clearly feels he is ready to test his conditioning over the shorter distance in a high profile race which starts on the Mall and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace.

Hawkins ran a stand-alone 10km personal best time of 29 minutes and three seconds in the Netherlands in February. Farah’s 10km personal best is a rapid 27:44 which he ran on the London 10,000 course in 2010 and he will be going for his sixth victory in this event.

The four-time Olympic champion showed he remains in good shape following his third place at this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon by running 28:27 to win Great Manchester Run 10km last Sunday. In the women’s race, last year’s Vitality London 10,000m champion Jo Pavey, 44, has been added to an exciting field which also includes Scotland’s Steph Twell.

Beth Dobbin, meanwhile, hasn’t shelved her plans to move up to the 400m after shattering her personal best at 200m on her home track at Loughborough this weekend then admitted it hasn’t altered her plans to specialise in the 400m. The 23-year-old, whose dad hails from Dunfermline and mum Jean comes from Doncaster, works at the town’s university so perhaps it was unsurprising that her victory – one of nine Scottish event wins on the day – was well received.

Her time of 23.14 would have been comfortably within the qualifying standards for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, a marker which she missed by only a hundredth of a second.

“I missed out on the Commonwealth Games qualifying time for the 200m by 100ths of a second,” Beth said. “I recorded a PB of 23.31 at the British champs last year and I half thought they’d take me anyway. But they didn’t and I understood the selection process. I did do a couple of 400m runs and thought about the relay but, six years ago, my coach told me to get under 23 seconds and then move up to 400m .That is still the plan and it is on schedule. Next year I’ll move up to 400m.”


king Kipchoge: ‘This treble tops everything,’

Eliud Kipchoge described his third Virgin Money London Marathon victory on Sunday as the greatest achievement of his glittering career as he looked back on a day when he was crowned king of the roads and sealed a third Abbott World Marathon Majors title.

Kipchoge’s majestic performance at the head of one of the greatest elite fields in men’s marathon history was his ninth consecutive win and the 10th in his five-year-old marathon career.

Two of those have come at the prestigious Berlin Marathon and one in Chicago, while two years ago he won what many regard as the greatest prize of all when he claimed an Olympic marathon gold at the Rio Games.

But Kipchoge said today that becoming only the third man to clinch a London Marathon treble was his crowning moment.

“This tops everything,” said Kipchoge. “Winning a third time in London and with a third Majors title at the same time is right at the top.

“It was a really big win for me because it was a tough race. I tried hard to concentrate on the distance and my own running and wait for the last few miles.”

Kipchoge’s performance was a mesmerising one as he ran at the head of the field for the entire 26.2 miles, barely changing his stride or veering from his course except to pick up his drinks bottles, his eyes set unerringly on the road ahead.

He passed halfway in a record 61 minutes flat – a target set, he revealed today, at his request – and maintained an unrelenting rhythm towards the Finish Line as one-by-one his opponents fell away.

By the time they reached Canary Wharf there were only two men left – the young Ethiopian, Tola Shura Kitata, and Britain’s big hope, Sir Mo Farah, who appeared at Kipchoge’s shoulder at 30km only to see the master move away with apparent ease.

Kitata stuck to his heels for another five miles until Kipchoge shrugged him off too as they dipped into the welcome shade under Blackfriars Bridge. Not that Kipchoge paid either of them much attention.

“If you want to run fast you have to run in front,” he said. “I didn’t sense Mo there but I saw him. But I was ready to do what was in my mind.

“I wasn’t running against anybody, I was running as Eliud. My mind was fully concentrated on the distance. It was tough in the middle of the race so I needed to concentrate on finishing the race.”

As for going out at such a blistering pace on a baking day, for Kipchoge it was all just part of the plan.

“I knew we couldn’t go that fast for the whole distance,” he said. “I wasn’t worried because I knew I would be OK.

“My aim was to run a beautiful race. I didn’t aim for the world record. I knew when coming here I was going to run a beautiful race.”

Cheruiyot’s win was also a thing of beauty, albeit one of contrasting style, as she ran a perfectly judged and evenly paced race that eventually paid dividends when her world record-chasing rivals, Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba, hit the wall.

Cheruiyot, who was fourth on her marathon debut in London last year, clinched the biggest win yet in her short marathon career when she crossed the line in 2:18:31, five minutes quicker than she’s ever run before.

“I learned from last year to be more patient,” said Cheruiyot. “I went too fast last time and was totally kaput at the end.

“This year I saw Mary and Tirunesh were going for the world record but I wanted to run a race I was comfortable with.

“Yesterday I was thinking about running 2:20, so in my mind I was saying if I run 69 seconds at halfway, maybe the second will be 70. And then I found I was chasing someone.”

In fact, Cheruiyot passed the half-way mark in fourth place in 68:56, a full minute and 40 seconds adrift of the leading pair, but stuck to her guns as she closed the gap and reeled them in.

She finally moved into the lead with just three miles left, passing Keitany without a glance as she raced on to clinch her first Abbott World Marathon Majors victory and become the fourth quickest woman ever over the classic distance.

“I’m done with track now,” said Cheruiyot. “My legs were painful last night, but I’m feeling better now.”

As for Kipchoge’s future, he said: “My plan ended yesterday in London. For now, I’m blank. It’s my coach’s problem.

“Marathon is life,” he added. “And as long as I’m enjoying life, I’m enjoying the marathon.”

Paula Radcliffe believes world record is under threat

Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba are set to battle for London Marathon victory and an historic mark on Sunday.

Paula Radcliffe believes that both Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba are capable of breaking her marathon world record of 2:15:25, with the British running great predicting a fierce battle for this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon title.

It has been 15 years since Radcliffe set her monumental mark on the streets of the UK capital and since then no other female athlete has broken 2:17 for 26.2 miles, let alone 2:16.

Keitany has come the closest so far with her 2:17:01 last year to break the women-only record but this time, accompanied by male pacemakers as Radcliffe was in 2003, the Kenyan hopes to create history once more. Radcliffe believes her record is under threat, but not only from Keitany.

“It’s always been a matter of time,” she says when discussing the chances of her world record being broken this weekend. “When I set the record, I never thought it would stand for 15 years.

“I can remember when I crossed the line and saw Dave Bedford (then race director) at the end, he was saying ‘we’re not going to see that beaten for a while’ and I thought ‘I could beat that’; I thought I could still improve on it.

“The marathon is very much about getting it right on the day and how that pans out – you need good conditions, you need to have done the training and be in shape, and you need a bit of luck on the day as well.

“But the longer it’s gone on, obviously the more attached I’ve become to it! It’s starting to feel a little bit like a part of the family,” she adds of her record. “But it’s inevitable it’s going to get beaten at some point and last year, the way that Mary ran, I thought for a lot of that race that it was under threat.

“So I think she’s capable but, first and foremost, she has to concentrate on winning the race because she has a race on her hands against Tirunesh Dibaba.

“Tirunesh is equally capable of taking the time. I don’t think we should talk about it as just as Mary Keitany going after it, I think it’s both of them.”

Radcliffe’s achievements at the London Marathon have led to her being named on Friday as a recipient of the new Spirit of London award and reflecting on her experiences, she says: “On that day in 2003 everything came together and it came very close to being the best that I was capable of doing. That’s why I kept working as hard as I did in the closing stages, because I was very conscious of the fact that I might never get that again – I might never get a day where everything came together.

“I wanted to put the record out there as much as possible so it had a chance of standing as long as it did.”

Her early memories include watching Ingrid Kristiansen on her way to a world record in 1985 and even though Radcliffe may no longer compete, running remains an important part of her life.

“Growing up, every year I’d be watching on the TV and would get my own run done to be back in time to watch the race, dreaming one day of getting the chance to run in it,” she says.

“For me, it’s different now. It’s not like I have to go out and I have to do a certain run. I don’t even start my watch most days. I run how I feel, and I like the social side of it, I love to run with the kids, and I like to run with my friends.

“Sometimes if I’ve got a lot on my mind and I want to clear my head then I’ll just go out for a run.

“I’ve never come back from a run and felt worse than I did before I went. I think that is more what I use it for now, rather than trying to be fit. I’m never going to set a personal best now. I’m not trying to do that, I’m just trying to enjoy it. “

source: athleticsweekly.com

Kipchoge believes London treble would be his greatest feat

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, already an athletics legend after 15 years of monumental achievements on the track, cross country and roads, believes he would top them all by winning a third Virgin Money London Marathon title on Sunday.

The 33-year-old Kenyan, who is right in the thick of the argument about who is the greatest distance runner of all-time, said on Thursday that joining compatriot Martin Lel and Mexican Dionicio Ceron as the only men ever to win London three times would be his greatest feat.

It was a remarkable admission from a man who won his first world senior track title over 5,000 metres when he was just 17 and who has been building his path to sporting greatness ever since, culminating with his Olympic marathon triumph on the roads of Rio in 2016.

But asked if coming back here to win a third London title in four years would be the greatest achievement of his storied career, Kipchoge exclaimed: “Absolutely!

“If I was to win on Sunday, it would mean so much. It would show my consistency and I would be the happiest man on earth. To win London three times would be the best.”

The farmer from Kapsisiywa is, naturally, the favourite to win the race again, as befits a phenomenon who has lost only one of his nine marathons and who has not been beaten in any for nearly five years.

Indeed, Kipchoge has become so dominant that the overriding question more recently has become not whether he is going to win but whether he is going to finally achieve his aim of breaking the official world record of 2 hours 2 minutes 57 seconds set by his compatriot Dennis Kimetto in Berlin in 2014.

In London two years ago, Kipchoge had looked on course to break that mark on a much less record-friendly course than Berlin but eventually missed out by just eight seconds with a superlative course record run 2:03:05.

Last year he gave up the chance to go for a consecutive hat-trick of London titles, concentrating instead on an ambitious project to record the first sub-two hour marathon in ideal, contrived conditions on the Monza race circuit in Italy, running behind an arrow-head formation of pacemakers to reduce drag in a non-record eligible race. Astonishingly, though, he finished only 26 seconds outside the target.

“That showed me that there is no limit,” Kipchoge mused on Thursday. “One day, I’ll try to run a world record that can be ratified by the IAAF and it will show the next generation what can be done.”

Might that day be on Sunday, he was asked. “I’m going to run a beautiful race this weekend – but I won’t predict a time,” he said, tantalisingly.

Was that because of the forecast that this is set to be the warmest London Marathon of all? “I’m not worried about the weather,” smiled a man who never looks worried about anything.

The idea that he could still improve at 33, based on his combination of “talent, good coaching and technology” evidently still appeals to Kipchoge. “I’m still a student – and Patrick [Sang, his coach] is my teacher. I’m just doing what a student is required to do.”

His younger teammate Daniel Wanjiru, who took advantage of Kipchoge’s absence last year to keep the London men’s title in Kenya, may see Kipchoge as a master more than a pupil.

Yet the reigning men’s champion is determined to prove he can again beat the best, just as he did last year when outduelling Kenenisa Bekele, the second fastest man in history, to win in 2:05:48.

Recently second behind Sir Mo Farah in London’s Big Half, the 25-year-old reported on today that his training has been going very well in preparation to defend his crown.

Yet when he looks across and sees the world’s greatest marathoner smiling late on in the race, it may prove a very dispiriting sight. “A smile ignites my mind to forget all about the pain,” explained Kipchoge, beaming as usual. “That’s the beauty of the smile.”

Stage set for Abbott World Marathon Majors Series finale

There is plenty to play for as we reach the conclusion of Series XI of the Abbott World Marathon Majors at the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for many of the world’s greatest marathon athletes, and after six races we are still unclear as to who will scoop the $250,000 top prize on 22 April.

The Series got underway in spectacular style in the English capital as Mary Keitany scorched her way to a women’s only world record of 2:17:01, beating Paula Radcliffe’s mark of 2:17:42 set in 2005.

Daniel Wanjiru made it a Kenyan double in the open division with his win in the men’s race and there was home crowd delight as David Weir took his seventh London wheelchair title, beating Marcel Hug in a hard-fought sprint along The Mall. Manuela Schär claimed the women’s crown to begin a dominant Series for the Swiss racer.

The open Series made a quick return to London in the summer, as it encompassed the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships, where Geoffrey Kiriu of Kenya maintained the form he had shown to win the 2017 Boston Marathon to take the gold and 25 points on offer in the Abbott WMM competition. Rose Chelimo of Bahrain was the women’s champion, beating the veteran Edna Kiplagat into second place as she crossed the finish line on Tower Bridge.

The Series then recommenced in the rain of Berlin where the stage had been set for a tussle between three of the best men in marathon history as Series IX and X champion Eluid Kipchoge faced off against Series VII king Wilson Kipsang and Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele, who had finished second in London in the spring.

The contest provided the perfect stage for the world record to tumble, but Bekele and Kipsang could not last the distance in the German capital and dropped out to leave Kipchoge in a shoot-out with surprise package Guye Adola. The Kenyan legend won the battle of wits and eased to his first win of the Series.

Gladys Cherono took the women’s title with a 22-second margin over Ethiopian Ruti Aga, and there was a second win of the women’s wheelchair Series for Schär, who was matched by her compatriot Hug in the men’s race.

Schär would not get it all her own way in the next stop for the Series at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, as a resurgent Tatyana McFadden edged a sprint finish with training partner Amanda McGrory, the Swiss star just two seconds behind them. No such problems for Hug who was crowned Chicago champion for the second time with a sprint victory over Australia’s Kurt Fearnley.

In the open division, Tirunesh Dibaba claimed her maiden Abbott WMM race win to add to her second in London, while the USA was able to celebrate its first male winner in Chicago since 2002 when Galen Rupp, former training partner to Mo Farah, ran away from the pack with three miles to go to take the tape and fire himself into Series contention.

The American fairytale was to continue on the damp streets of New York City, but this time in the women’s division. In a race dominated in recent years by Keitany, the Kenyan was beaten by Shalane Flanagan in a memorable run that saw the Boston-born athlete punching the air with delight as she romped home through Central Park.

There was a Kenyan one-two in the men’s race, with Geoffrey Kamworor just about holding off the late-charging Wilson Kipsang to win his first Abbott WMM race.

Manuela Schär returned to the top of the podium in the women’s wheelchair race, turning the tables on McFadden and matching Hug who claimed the men’s wheelchair race.

Kipsang was the firm favourite to finally claim a win in this Series in Tokyo when the show rolled into the Japanese capital in February.

But the 36-year-old succumbed to an illness picked up prior to the race and stepped off the road just 17km into proceedings. Kipsang’s withdrawal opened the door for his compatriot Dickson Chumba to run away from the field and claim a second Tokyo title.

The roars were arguably louder for the man who followed him home, however, as Yuta Shitara smashed the Japanese national record and Asian record, having carved his way from fifth to second in the late stages. Birhane Dibaba also scooped her second Tokyo victory in the women’s race.

There was more home joy in the men’s wheelchair tussle as 51-year-old Hiroyuki Yamamoto made a daring early break stick. With just Tomoki Suzuki for company, Yamamoto rounded the final bend on one wheel before out-muscling his younger compatriot for a famous victory. 

Manuela Schär again proved head and shoulders above her competition with her fourth win in five Series races to establish an unassailable lead, McFadden coming home over a minute behind her rival.

And so as we head for Boston and – just six days later ¬– close the Series in London, the wheelchair spoils are largely decided with Schär and Hug both uncatchable.

But there is the potential for drama aplenty in both open divisions.

Flanagan can take a commanding position in the fight for the Series XI title if she can claim victory in Boston on 16 April.

The American scored 25 points with her win at the TCS New York City Marathon, and can move to 50 with a second triumph of the campaign.

A first place for Flanagan would deny a third Series crown for Keitany when she mounts the defence of her London title.

The Kenyan is now hunting Paula Radcliffe’s male pacemaker-assisted time of 02:15:25 in London. But Keitany’s defeat to Flanagan in Central Park last November means the Marblehead native has a better head-to-head record than the two-time Series champion.

With only the top two results counting for open division athletes, that win for Flanagan on the streets of New York City means if both women end up with two wins apiece, we will have the first American women’s champion in the history of the Series.

But Flanagan, who missed last year’s Boston Marathon with a stress fracture in her back, will have her work cut out if she is to make it to that Boylston Street Finish Line ahead of the pack.

Alongside a formidable-looking American field, defending champion Edna Kiplagat will be desperate to repeat her success of 2017. The veteran Kenyan can take a share of the lead on 41 points if she can claim the spoils on Patriots Day.

World champion Chelimo, Berlin winner Cherono and Chicago champ Dibaba are all due to be on the start line in London, too and will all still have a shot at the title.

On the men’s side, Geoffrey Kirui, who is also seeking to retain his status as Boston champion after rounding off Series X with a win there, can move to 50 points with victory after being crowned world champion last summer in London. 

The same goes for Rupp who can also make it two wins from two appearances.

A win for either will leave it down to one of Kipchoge or Wanjiru to match them in London. In that scenario, there will have been no head to head between the only two men on 50 points, forcing a vote by the six race directors to find the men’s Series XI winner. Should neither Kipchoge or Wanjiru secure first or second place 22 April, and Rupp and Kirui both miss out in Boston, the door is open for the likes of Bekele and Adola to sneak into first place. Calculators at the ready.

Source: virginmoneylondonmarathon.com

Course record holder Sir Mo Farah returns to Vitality London 10,000

Sir Mo Farah has confirmed he will run the 2018 Vitality London 10000 on Monday 28 May – ensuring a swift return to the capital’s roads after the Virgin Money London Marathon next month.

The multiple Olympic and world champion makes his first return to the Vitality London 10000 since 2013 on what will be the 10th anniversary of the capital’s most iconic race which starts on The Mall and finishes in front of Buckingham Palace.

Farah is the event record holder for a route that also passes iconic London landmarks such as Admiralty Arch, Nelson’s Column, St Paul’s Cathedral, Mansion House, the Bank of England, the Old Bailey, Somerset House, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

The 35-year-old has run the event of five occasions, winning in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013 and finishing runner-up in the first edition of the race in 2008.

His course record of 27 minutes and 44 seconds was set in 2010 when he beat the Kenyan Micah Kogo by five seconds and is also Farah’s personal best over 10km on the road.

Farah said: “It has been a while since I last raced the Vitality London 10000 and I’m looking forward to returning again this year. I have got many happy memories of the race and of the course which is a spectacular one and one that I’ve been able to run fast on in the past.

“The race has always been a preparation for the track season in the past while this year I will have run the Virgin Money London Marathon just five weeks before so it will be a bit different but I am looking forward to it. As I always say, running in my home town is always special.”

The Vitality London 10,000 also incorporates the British Athletics 10km Championships for men and women. Further details of the entrants for both the male and female races will be made shortly.

The event forms the second part of a packed weekend of road running around central London which will start on Sunday morning (27 May) with the fifth edition of the Vitality Westminster Mile, a series of races around St James’s Park for runners of all ages and abilities, from elites to families with young children

Source: runnersweb.com

Biwott pulls out of London Marathon with left leg injury

Stanley Biwott has been forced to pull out of the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 22 April with a left leg injury that has prevented him from training for two weeks.

Biwott, a former New York Marathon champion, was due to start as the fourth quickest man in the super-fast 2018 elite men’s field, and was likely to challenge the ‘big three’ of Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, Ethiopian track legend Kenenisa Bekele and Britain’s multi-world and Olympic champion, Mo Farah.

Biwott was runner-up behind fellow-Kenyan Kipchoge in London two years ago when he ran his quickest ever time of 2 hours 3 minutes and 51 seconds, making him the fourth fastest man in this year’s field and the eighth fastest of all-time.

He had also finished second in 2014 and was fourth in 2015, the year he went on to win the coveted New York Marathon title.

But the 32-year-old has been beset by injury problems for the last two years. He dropped out of the Rio Olympic marathon race, won in majestic fashion by Kipchoge, and the 2016 New York Marathon when he was defending his title. He also missed last year’s London race, won by another Kenyan, Daniel Wanjiru.

Biwott’s absence leaves Kipchoge and Wanjiru to do battle for Kenya, along with compatriots Abel Kirui, the two-time world champion and Olympic silver medallist, Bedan Karoki, who was third last year, and Lawrence Cherono, who won last year’s Amsterdam Marathon.

After finishing third and second in the last two editions, Bekele will hope to finally wrest the title from Kenyan hands, backed up by fellow Ethiopians, Guye Adola, the runner-up behind Kipchoge in Berlin last September, and Tola Shura Kitata, who won the Frankfurt and Rome Marathons last year.

Farah will have his eyes on Steve Jones’ long-held British record of 2:07:13 and perhaps cracking the European record of 2:05:48, a time that could well put him on the London Marathon podium.

Source: virginmoneylondonmarathon.com

Wanjiru to defend London Marathon against Bekele, Kipchoge and Farah

Daniel Wanjiru will face a daunting task when he defends his London Marathon title against three of the greatest distance runners of their generation on Sunday 22 April.

Wanjiru was a surprise winner of the 2017 men’s race when he held off the challenge of Ethiopian track legend Kenenisa Bekele to clinch his first Abbott World Marathon Majors victory and succeed Olympic gold medallist Eliud Kipchoge as London Marathon champion.

At just 24, Wanjiru had only three marathons behind him and just one victory – although that was a spectacular triumph, coming at the Amsterdam Marathon in October 2016 when he took almost three minutes from his personal best to beat a field of far more experienced runners.

In London, he proved that performance was no fluke when he made a break just before the 21-mile mark and battled hard over the final five miles to beat the fast-finishing Bekele who had fallen behind after suffering with blisters caused by ill-fitting shoes. “I am the happiest man in the world,” said the Kenyan afterwards.

Both Bekele and Kipchoge, the second and third fastest men in history over 26.2 miles, will be back on the London start line in 2018 alongside Britain’s multiple world and Olympic track champion, Mo Farah, who became the second fastest British marathon runner on his debut four years ago and defeated Wanjiru in the Vitality Big Half in London last month.

Bekele and Kipchoge will start as the two fastest in the field, heading a line-up that contains four who have run the distance under 2 hours 4 minutes and eight who have finished quicker than 2:06. Among them are five World Marathon Majors winners and two former world champions.

Kipchoge returns to London looking to make it a hat-trick of wins in the British capital after skipping last year’s race for a stab at breaking the two-hour barrier. The Kenyan superstar triumphed in 2015 and was an agonising eight seconds away from the current world record of 2:02:57 when he won again a year later.

“The Virgin Money London Marathon is a race that holds very special memories for me,” said the 33-year-old who became the fastest marathon runner in history when he clocked 2:00:25 in an unratified race in Monza, Italy, last May.

“I won it in 2015 and 2016 and both are days I will never forget. I came close to breaking the world record in 2016 and it is natural for anyone in that situation to think 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.”

Kipchoge was again close to the world record in Berlin last September when he finished in 2:03:32, just 35 seconds off the mark set by his countryman Dennis Kimetto 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. I know I have the world record in me so we will have to wait and see what happens.”

With his best of 2:03:03, Bekele is the second quickest man in history and the fastest in the London field. After finishing third on his London debut in 2015, the 35-year-old placed second last year when he came agonisingly close to catching Wanjiru in the closing stages.

He is joined by compatriot Guye Adola who ran the fastest debut in history when runner-up behind Kipchoge in Berlin last September. Having led the race until the final few miles, the 27-year-old became the seventh quickest marathoner of all time when he crossed the line in 2:03:46, just 14 seconds after the winner.

The Kenyan challenge is boosted by Stanley Biwott, a former New York Marathon champion who was runner-up behind Kipchoge in London two years ago, and the experienced Abel Kirui, a two-time world champion who won the Chicago Marathon in 2016 and was second there last October.

Also in the field is Bedan Karoki who clinched third on his debut last year and ran the fourth fastest half marathon in history in the United Arab Emirates this February.

Former world and New York champion, Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, is one of three talented Eritreans in the line-up, while Farah heads a select British cast that includes Rio Olympian Tsegai Tewelde and the fast-improving Jonny Mellor.

While that pair will train their sights on selection for the European Championships, Farah is focused on a bigger prize – breaking Steve Jones’ long-held British record of 2:07:13 and perhaps cracking the European record of 2:05:48, a time that could well put him on the London Marathon podium.

Source: virginmoneylondonmarathon.com