Kirui in buoyant mood for London marathon missing Kipchoge, Bekele confirms WR chase

By emmanuel sabuni
Jan 09, 2017
  • Abel Kirui is one of the top contenders for the 2017 London marathon.

  • Kenenisa Bekele(left) ahead of the 2016 Berlin marathon which he won.

Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge will not defend his London marathon title his focus firmly on lowering the World record this season.

His absence leaves last year’s runner up Stanley Biwott and double marathon world champion Abel Kirui who won 2016 Chicago marathon for the first time as the top Kenyan contenders.

The April 23 race will be headlined by Ethiopia’s Triple Olympic track winner Kenenisa Bekele for the April 23 race.

Kipchoge, the two-time London marathon winner is among the runners touted to break the 2-hour barrier in 2017.

He is world record target was boosted after his 2:03:05 run last year in London, which was by then just eight seconds outside Dennis Kimetto's world record of 2:02:57.

Bekele missed a world record by just six seconds at the Berlin marathon last year after a mouth-watering battle with former world record holder Wilson Kipsang.

"London is the greatest marathon in the world and I would love to win there.The field is always the best and victory means so much. After finishing third last year, I know what I need to do to win,” Bekele said in a statement as the organisers revealed the line up.

His 2:03.03 is the world second fastest marathoner of all time. Half marathon silver medallist Bedan Karoki will make his debut. Kirui, is focused on bagging another world marathon majors race after Chicago.  

“It would be a very busy year for me to try and do well in London races. I will start my campaign at London marathon before moving to London world championships. I have done well in world championships and I pray that on that, I will be on top form,” said the former Vienna marathon champion.

The Police Inspector will be returning to London five years after he won silver at the 2012 Olympic Games finishing behind Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich .

“My return to London should be more successful compared to the past events,”he assured.

The Nandi born runner failed to defend his world marathon titles in Moscow, Russia in 2013 and Beijing, China in 2015 due to a tendon injury that kept him out of competition but bounced back to win Chicago.

Selected men's elite list 1.Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 2:03:03 2.Stanley Biwott (KEN) 2:03:51 3.Tesfaye Abera (ETH) 2:04:24 4. Feyisa Lilesa (ETH) 2:04:52 5.Abel Kirui (KEN) 2:05:04 6. Daniel Wanjiru (KEN) 2:05:21 7.Tilahun Regassa (ETH) 2:05:27 8.Abraham Tadesse (SUI) 2:06:40 9.Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (ERI) 2:07:46 10. Amanuel Mesel (ERI) 2:08:17 11. Asefa Mengstu (ETH) 2:08:41 29. Bedan Karoki Muchiri (KEN) debut