Kenyan’s athletes have been adjudged the best to win the World Marathon Majors, WMM, London race.
Kenyan men have won seven out of the last 16 London competitions and Kenyan women six, while Ethiopians have won just twice in each category.
Reigning WMM champions Eliud Kipchoge and Mary Keitany will lead a strong Kenyan contingent that also includes former London marathon winners, Wilson Kipsang and Priscah Jeptoo.
With places in the Rio Olympic team up for grabs, the Kenyans are eager to put in their best performances. A new anti-doping law, due to be passed before May 2, is aimed at saving Kenya’s runners from a threatened Olympics ban after a spate of positive drug tests among athletes.
Men’s champion Kipchoge, 31, says his goal is Olympic selection not breaking the course record of 2:04:00 set in 2014 by fellow Kenyan Wilson Kipsang.
“I always love the challenge of competing in the big city marathons,” Kipchoge told AFP before departing for the British capital on Monday night.
“But I cannot say I will be going for the course title. Marathon running is a team event,” said Kipchoge, who is set to face Kipsang and world record holder, Dennis Kimetto, in a repeat of the 2015 London marathon.
Kenyan-based Italian coach Renato Canova has singled out Kipchoge, a former world 5, 000 metre champion and Olympic silver medalist, as the runner to watch this season.
“Kipchoge is head and shoulders above all the Kenyan marathon runners and he is a very strong contender to win the Olympic gold medal in Rio,” said the Kenya based Canova, who has coached several Kenyan marathon runners over the past five years.