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Wilson Kipsang will defend his London Marathon title in April

1.85K   //    08 Jan 2015, 20:21 IST

Wilson Kipsang

London, Jan 8 (IANS)

The world's fastest men's marathon runners will race over the marathon distance for the first time when they clash at the London Marathon April 26, the race organisers announced on Thursday.

Former world record holder Wilson Kipsang will defend his title against fellow Kenyan Dennis Kimetto, the man who made history last year when he broke Kipsang's record to become the first man ever to run 42.195 kilometers in less than two hours three minutes, reports Xinhua.

Kimetto, who clocked two hours and 02. 57 minutes in last September's Berlin Marathon, will make his London Marathon debut, while Kipsang takes on the iconic course for the fourth time having won in 2012 and 2014.

The two are training partners in the Kenyan town of Iten but have never faced each other over the marathon distance.

Kipsang, who set the former world record of two hours and 03. 23 minutes at the Berlin Marathon in 2013, broke the London course record last year when he won in two hours and 04. 29 minutes. Now, he is aiming to become only the fourth man in the event's 35-year history to claim a hat-trick of London titles.

The 32-year-old has won eight marathons in his career, including his last three races, and was crowned the 2013-2014 World Marathon Majors champion after winning the 2014 New York City Marathon last November.

"I would love to join the London Marathon legends by winning a third title," said Kipsang, who took the bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Kipsang and Kimetto are joined by four other strong Kenyans, including 2011 London champion Emmanuel Mutai, who ran the second quickest time ever when finishing runner-up to Kimetto in Berlin last year; Eliud Kipchoge, the former world 5,000m champion who won the 2014 Chicago Marathon last October; and Sammy Kitwara, who was second in Chicago and third in Tokyo last year.

Last year's runner-up Stanley Biwott, another sub-two hours and five minutes man, returns to the London Marathon seeking to go one better in 2015, while a former Rotterdam Marathon champion, Tilahun Regassa, is the fourth Ethiopian in the field with a best of two hour and 05.27 minutes.

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