NAIROBI: EDNA Kiplagat will face two former champions and the fastest half marathon runner in history when she defends her Virgin Money London Marathon in April.
Organisers of the event scheduled for the English capital on April 26 April have tagged the highly-anticipated clash the battle of the Fantastic Four.
Kiplagat, the double world champion sprinted to victory on The Mall last year, beating half marathon world record holder Florence Kiplagat by just three seconds, in the closest women’s race for 17 years.
The two Kiplagats will meet again in April when they face the 2013 champion, Priscah Jeptoo, and Mary Keitany, who topped the London Marathon podium in 2011 and 2012.
The women’s elite field organisers have announced contains seven runners who have completed the 26.2-mile distance in less than two hours 22 minutes, and no fewer than ten who have run quicker than 2: 25.
However it is the so-called Fantastic Four, all who hail from Kenya, who are expected to battle it out over the closing stages just as they did in 2012 when Keitany smashed the Kenyan record.
Virgin Money London Marathon Race Director, Hugh Brasher said, once again, they were delighted to be able to announce one of the strongest women’s marathon fields ever seen.
“With our last three champions and the world half marathon record holder, these athletes can truly be called the Fantastic Four.” The Kenyan contingent is further strengthened by New York City Marathon runner-up Jemima Sumgong.
However, the East Africans won’t have it all their own way though. The 2015 field contains a number of strong European runners led by three women who have all gone sub-2: 25.
Among these are Russia’s 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Tatyana Arkhipova, Ukraine’s Tetyana Gamera-Shmyrko, the 2014 Osaka champion who was seventh in London last year, and last year’s European champion, Christelle Daunay of France.
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY