London Marathon: Kipchoge And Bekele Arrive On September 28

Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge and 10,000m world record holder Kenenisa Bekele will arrive in London today ahead of the London Marathon on October 4.

Defending champion Kipchoge departed the Eldoret International Airport at 8:15 pm on Sunday 27 September aboard a 56-seater Boeing 737-500 aircraft chartered by the race organizers. Also on the flight were Amsterdam Marathon champion Vincent Kipchumba, Rotterdam Marathon champion Marius Kipserem, 2016 Mumbai Marathon champion Gideon Kipketer and Benson Kipruto.

The women’s contingent team consists of marathon record holder and women’s race defending champion Brigid Kosgei, 2018 winner Vivian Cheruiyot, world marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich, Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Jemeli and debutant Edith Chelimo.

Technical teams and pacemakers were also included.

At the airport in Eldoret to bid the athletes farewell were Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei, Chief Administrative Secretary for Sports Hassan Noor Hassan and Central Rift Athletics Kenya chairman Abraham Mutai, among others.

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Speaking ahead of their departure, Tuwei said he was confident that theathletes were well prepared.

“It’s an honour for you as athletes to be sent a plane by the race organisers and we know as a federation you have trained well despite the coronavirus challenge. We wish you well and we know you are going to defend your titles,” said Tuwei.

The plane will also stop over in Addis Ababa to pick up the Ethiopian contingent led by multiple world and Olympic distance running champion Kenenisa Bekele. Bekele will be accompanied by compatriots Mosinet Geremew and Mule Wasihun who placed second and third respectively at the 2019 race behind Kipchoge as well as the 2018 first runners up Shura Kitata.

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The plane will then make a scheduled refueling stop in Athens, Greece, before making the final approach to London Stanstead Airport.

The race is being viewed by experts as a mouthwatering clash between two fierce rivals – Kenya and Ethiopia, and the main focus will be on the clash between Kipchoge and Bekele. The duo are the only men in history to run a marathon under two hours and two minutes – Kipchoge’s world record mark of 2:01.39 and Bekele’s 2:01.41.

The 40th edition of the race was initially planned for April 26 before it was postponed owing to Covid-19 pandemic and will thus be the first in history to have elites-only races.

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Similarly, unlike in the previous editions where the race is held in the largely flat course around River Thames, this year’s event will take place on an enclosed looped course in St James’s Park in a secure biosphere.

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