Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya will try to win his third London Marathon when he returns to the race on April 22, race organizers announced on Thursday morning.
Kipchoge won the 2015 edition of the race, when he upstaged what was billed as a clash between marathon world record holders Dennis Kimetto and Wilson Kipsang. He returned a year later to set the course record of 2:03:06, which is just eight seconds shy of Kimetto's world record of 2:02:57. He went on to win the gold medal in the marathon at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Kipchoge did not run last year's edition of the London Marathon since he bypassed any major marathon to participate in Nike's optimized attempt to break the two-hour marathon barrier on a Formula 1 track in Monza, Italy. Kipchoge ended up running 2:00:25 but the time is not recognized as a world record by the International Association of Athletics Federation due to Nike's tweaking of pacing strategy and hydration intake during the attempt.
Kipchoge made his return to the World Marathon Majors with a 2:03:32 victory under wet conditions in September's Berlin Marathon.
“I feel like I’m in good form,” Kipchoge said in a statement. “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.”
Mo Farah, the two-time Olympic champion at 5,000 meters an 10,000 meters, was the first elite announced for next year's race. At the end of the summer, he announced his retirement from the track to focus on the roads and specifically the marathon. Farah holds a personal best of 2:08:21 from debut at the 2014 London Marathon.
Race organizers in the U.K. have previously drawn criticism for headlining races with Farah but not fielding a field with stiff enough competition to defeat him. The addition of Kipchoge, who has arguably been the best marathoner of the past three years, means that the London Marathon will certainly not be a cakewalk for Farah.
Kipchoge holds an 11–5 career record in all races against Farah. Their last head-to-head race came at a 2012 indoor meet in Birmingham (UK), where Kipchoge beat Farah by less than a second in a two-mile race.
Tale of the tape: Farah vs. Kipchoge Personal Bests
1,500 meters: Farah (3:28.81) vs. Kipchoge (3:33.20)
Mile: Farah (3:56.49) vs. Kipchoge (3:50.40)
5,000 meters: Farah (12:53.11) vs. Kipchoge (12:46.53)
10,000 meters: Farah (26:46.57) vs. Kipchoge (26:49.02)
Half Marathon: Farah (59:22) vs. Kipchoge (59:25)
Marathon: Farah (2:08:21) vs. Kipchoge (2:03:05 officially, 2:00:25 unofficially)