KENENISA BEKELE JOINS SIR MO FARAH AND ELIUD KIPCHOGE IN STUNNING ELITE MEN'S FIELD, AT 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon

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The spring 2018 marathon season will be sensational. Tokyo Marathon in early March, followed by Lake Biwa, then, the month of April, with Boston hosting the finest American fields in a generation, and London showcasing, once again, tha the who has deep pockets, can put together a fine field. London will also have a new sponsor, as New Balance, as they did in New York in November 2018, replaced ASICS after 24 years, is also the new sponsor for London marathon, replacing adidas, who had been there for over a decade.

Bekele_KenenisaFH1-Berlin16.jpgKenenisa Bekele, Berlin victory, 2016, photo by PhotoRun.net

Kenenisa Bekele is the world record holder at 5000 meters and 10,000 meters. His win in 2003 Paris over the 10,000 meters, was a prize fight win over Haile Gebrselassie. Bekele dominated track and cross country. His rise on the roads has not been as dominating. Issue is today, one does not know which Bekele will show up at the race. His recent antics in Dubai Marathon seemed, to some, a great way to add some cash flow to his already strapped business group. That makes sense, is not meant as a negative. But, Kenenisa Bekele is learning that the business world is even more cut throat than athletics.

Here's the other thing. Kenenisa Bekele seems to do best when he is really annoyed. Jos Hermans, his manager, has seemed hell bent to doing that over the past few races, noting that Kenenisa may not have had the focus he should have.

My interview with Kenenisa Bekele in London Marathon was fascination. Bekele has pride in himself, and that is important for an elite athlete. Can he put it all together at this late stage in his career? I believe so. Kenenisa Bekele needs to focus for six months. Not running a marathon in January or February is probably a good start.

Yet, Kenenisa still has dreams. If he puts his head down, stays healthy, Kenenisa Bekele can put a world of hurt on Eliud Kipchoge and Mo Farah. In the right race, Bekele could set a World Record.

But, what will happen in London? Should be dramatic, exciting and why we thank Mr. Bedford, Mr. Brasher and Mr. Bitell for hosting the finest marathon in the world.

KENENISA BEKELE JOINS SIR MO FARAH AND ELIUD KIPCHOGE IN STUNNING ELITE MEN'S FIELD AT 2018 VIRGIN MONEY LONDON MARATHON

Three legends to go head-to-head on Sunday 22 April

Bekele announcement is the first to be revealed as part of the Virgin Money London Marathon Elite Week

The three greatest distance runners of their generation will race the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon after Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele today [Sunday 21 January] confirmed he will join Sir Mo Farah and Eliud Kipchoge on the Start Line on Sunday 22 April.

The stellar trio of Bekele, Farah and Kipchoge have a combined total of eight Olympic gold medals and 12 World Championship golds between them.

Farah, 34, is the most decorated with four Olympic gold medals and six World Championship victories over 5,000m and 10,000m, while Bekele, 35, is the 5,000m (12:37:35) and 10,000m world record holder (26:17:53), the second fastest marathon runner in history (2:03:03) and the owner of three Olympic and five World Championship gold medals.

But it is Kipchoge, 33, who has the greatest marathon pedigree. The Kenyan, two-time London Marathon champion, is widely seen as the greatest marathon runner of his generation. He has run an unratified marathon time of 2:00:25 and is the reigning Olympic champion over the 26.2 mile distance.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: "This is a truly mouth-watering prospect. Sir Mo, Eliud and Kenenisa could all put forward a persuasive case for being the GOAT (the greatest of all time) and now they meet for the first time over the marathon distance at the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 22 April."

Bekele has run the past two Virgin Money London Marathons. He finished third in 2016 (2:06:36), when he admitted he was at just 90 per cent fitness, and was then second last year (2:05:57) behind Daniel Wanjiru.

Bekele said: "I am thrilled to be returning to London for the third year in a row and would love to go one better than last year and win the race. Once again London has brought the best distance runners in the world together so I know it will not be easy.

"It will be an honour to race alongside Sir Mo Farah and Eliud Kipchoge as well as the other great athletes in the field. I have been training very hard with the aim of arriving in London in April in the best possible condition."

The 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon is also the conclusion of the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XI which started at last year's London Marathon and includes the major marathons of Berlin, Chicago, New York, Tokyo and Boston, as well as the 2017 World Championships marathon.

Kipchoge is currently joint top of the series standings thanks to his win in the BMW Berlin Marathon last September alongside the 2017 winner of the Virgin Money London Marathon winner Daniel Wanjiru, the 2017 champions of Chicago (Galen Rupp) and New York (Geoffrey Kamworor) and the world champion Geoffrey Kirui.

Bekele, who is eighth in the Series XI standings, is the first name to be announced in the Virgin Money London Marathon Elite Week.

Every day until Thursday [25 January], we will be announcing competitors in the elite men's, women's and wheelchair fields on our social media channels before concluding with a live show streamed on Facebook at 1830 GMT on Thursday 25 January where experts will discuss the 2018 line-ups.

Search for Virgin Money London Marathon on Facebook, @LondonMarathon on Twitter and Instagram to ensure you don't miss out on the latest announcements.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

• The 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon takes place on Sunday 22 April. For more information, please visitwww.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com

• The London Marathon was first held on 29 March 1981

• Since 1981, The London Marathon Charitable Trust has awarded grants totalling more than £67 million to 1,170+ organisations in London, Surrey and other areas

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