JOHANNESBURG, December 1 – Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge will return to the London Marathon on April 22 looking to make it a hat-trick of wins at the IAAF Gold Label road race.
The Kenyan won in 2015 and was an agonising eight seconds away from the world record of 2:02:57 when he won again a year later.
Kipchoge, 33, will return in 2018 looking to confirm his status as the greatest marathon runner of his generation.
“The Virgin Money London Marathon is a race that holds very special memories for me,” he said. “I won it in 2015 and 2016 and both are days that I will never forget.
“I came so close to breaking the world record in 2016 and it is natural for anyone in that situation to think of 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.”
After his second London victory in 2016, Kipchoge went on to win the Olympic marathon in Rio. Earlier this year he produced the fastest ever time for the marathon distance when he ran 2:00:25 in an unratified race in Monza, Italy.
His last marathon was in Berlin in September when he again went close to the world record, this time finishing in 2:03:32 – 36 seconds off the mark set by his compatriot Dennis Kimetto in Berlin 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. As ever with marathon running, everything needs to come right on the day.
“The competition is always tough in London so I must wait and see how well I train and what the weather will be. I know that I have the world record in me so we will have to wait and see what happens.”
Kipchoge is the second star name to be added to the men’s elite field for the 2018 London Marathon after Britain’s double Olympic champion Mo Farah.
Farah is following a well-trodden path from the track to the marathon with Kipchoge by far the most successful convert of his generation.
“It does take time to make that switch but I’m sure Mo will be successful,” said Kipchoge, who won four global medals over 5 000m on the track, including the 2003 world title.
“It’s great he will be racing the London Marathon next year because I’m sure that will make the atmosphere even more special.”
A win for Kipchoge in London could also see him take back-to-back Abbott World Marathon Majors series wins.
He won Series X and currently sits joint top of the Series XI leaderboard after his win in Berlin. Series XI started at the 2017 London Marathon and will finish at the 2018 London Marathon.
The Abbott World Marathon Majors are made up of: Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.
– African News Agency (ANA)