Following reports a number of Ethiopian athletes had missed their flight to England ahead of the London Marathon on Sunday, it was confirmed that top-contender Kenenisa Bekele did in fact make the trip.
As one of the race favourites, Bekele is expected to challenge defending champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya for top honours.
Kenyan publication Daily Nation on Monday evening reported that Bekele had indeed made the trip and was not one of the athletes who missed the flight.
Originally billed as the ‘Race of the Century’, the world record-holder (2:01:39), defending champion Kipchoge will be the heavy favourite.
There are few runners on the world stage that can actually challenge the undisputed ‘best-ever’, but Bekele is one of them. Bekele ran a 2:01:41 at the Berlin Marathon in September 2019 – two seconds behind the record set by Kipchoge at the same race a year prior.
Kipchoge was also the first man to break two hours for the marathon when he ran 1:59:40 in contrived conditions in October last year, which included using the Nike AlphaFly Shoes which has prompted World Athletics to bring in new regulations for footwear.
It will be Kipchoge’s first race since breaking two-hours, and at 35-years-old there may not be too many more chances for the running great to be at his best.
Bekele, at 38, is Kipchoge’s senior and therefore the clock is ticking even more loudly for the Ethiopian.
In total, Kipchoge has won eight of the World Marathon Majors in nine attempts. In fact, his worst result was in his second appearance in a 42.2km event at the 2013 Berlin Marathon – in which he finished second.
However, with the obvious pedigree of Bekele – a close contest could well be on the cards.
In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo