Where Your Dreams Become Reality
Meb Joins Ritz and Khannouchi As USA Elite Entrants In Flora London Marathon
Americans Face Stunning Field Including Martin Lel, Zersenay Tadese, Sam Wanjiru, Goumri, Gharib, Ramaala and Limo
Reigning champion Martin Lel returns to defend his
Flora London Marathon title on 26th April against one of the strongest
fields ever assembled for a big city race.
After victories in 2005, 2007 and 2008, Lel is aiming
to become the first man to win four London Marathons and only the second man to
win three in a row, following the Mexican Dionicio Ceron who had three straight
victories between 1994 and 1996.
“It’s wonderful to be coming back to London,” said
the 30-year-old Kenyan. “I have great memories from my last three victories and
will be doing my best to put my name in the record books with a fourth
Last year Lel set a superb course record of 2hrs
5mins 15secs, making him the fourth quickest marathon runner
But with all three Olympic medallists from Beijing, a
former world record holder, the first four from London last year, two other
previous London champions, and a much-fancied debutant in the field, this could
be the Kenyan’s toughest test yet.
Chief among his challengers will be Sammy Wanjiru
whose victory at the Beijing Olympic Games was described by some as the greatest
marathon performance of all time. The 22-year-old Kenyan will have high hopes of
improving on his second place last year when he finished just nine seconds
behind his older compatriot.
Wanjiru will again meet stiff opposition from former
2 time World Champion and Olympic Silver medallist Jaouad Gharib of Morocco and
Bronze medallist and BUPA Great North Run winner, Tsegaye Kebede from
Abderrahim Goumri of Morocco and Kenyan Emmanuel
Mutai, third and fourth in London last year, will also be after their first
Khalid Khannouchi of USA, a former world record
holder, and Felix Limo of Kenya, a former London Marathon champion, will want to
regain the London titles they won in 2002 and 2006 respectively. Both are hugely
experienced marathon men.
Yet, many will have their eyes on a debutant –
Zersenay Tadese. The Eritrean is a double World half marathon champion, former
world cross country champion, and the 2004 Olympic 10,000m bronze
Tadese joins his compatriot Yonas Kifle, a sub-2:08
man at his best, while Viktor Röthlin of Switzerland will lead the European
challenge after finishing sixth at the Olympic Games.
Flora London Marathon race director David Bedford
said: “With 11 men who have run faster than 2:08 this is probably the highest
quality field we’ve ever assembled for the men’s race.
“In particular, we are delighted to welcome back our
reigning champion Martin Lel and the Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru whose
performance so delighted us this summer.
“But with such tough opposition they will have to be
at their very best to win the 2009 London Marathon title. It’s a mouth-watering
The 2009 men’s elite field and best
Martin Lel KEN 2:05:15
Sammy Wanjiru KEN 2:05:24
Abderrahim Goumri MAR 2:05:30
Khalid Khannouchi USA 2:05:38
Felix Limo KEN 2:06:14
Emmanuel Mutai KEN 2:06:15
Tsegaye Kebede ETH 2:06:40
Hendrick Ramaala RSA 2:06:55
Jaouad Gharib MAR 2:07:02
Viktor Röthlin SUI 2:07:23
Yonas Kifle ERI 2:07:34
Tessema Abshiro ETH 2:08:26
Meb Keflezighi USA 2:09:53
Dathan Ritzenhein USA 2:11:06
Zersenay Tadese ERI Debut
Hicham Bellani MAR Debut