When Kenenisa Bekele is in the starting line-up of a race but not even among the favourites, then it must be some line-up. Such is the case with the 2015 London Marathon men’s elite field announced today. (The women’s elite field will be revealed at a later date.)
The headline from today’s announcement is the showdown between defending champion Wilson Kipsang and world record holder Dennis Kimetto.
Once again the London organisers have assembled a star-studded men’s field. Ten sub-2:06 athletes are confirmed to be tearing along the Queen’s highway on 26 April. Up there with Kipsang (personal best 2:03:23), Kimetto (PB and world record 2:02:57) and Bekele (PB 2:05:04) will be 2014 Chicago Marathon winner Eliud Kipchoge (PB 2:04:05), last year’s London second-placer Stanley Biwott (PB 2:04:55), and Emmanuel Mutai (PB 2:03:13), the London winner in 2011 who has now become something of a serial runner-up in major marathons.
Despite the depth of the field, Kipsang and Kimetto are the clear favourites. The two Kenyans, who train together, have already kicked off the good-natured pre-race trash talk on Twitter:
— Wilson Kipsang(@Kipsang_2_03_23) January 8, 2015
— Dennis Kimetto (@DennisKimetto) January 8, 2015
Of course, all we need is that neither of them get injured.
With no Mo show this year, British interest in the London Marathon men’s race will centre on Scott Overall (PB 2:10:55) and the fascinating human interest angle of reformed smoker and tippler Steve Way (PB 2:15:16). Also toeing the start line in London will be Commonwealth Games champion Michael Shelley of Australia (PB 2:11:15).
However, home fans may have something to wave flags about in the women’s race, if Paula Radcliffe can return from injury and make good on her wish to run the 2015 London Marathon as a valedictory race. But that’s for another day.