World record-holder Brigid Kosgei and Shura Kitata will defend their respective crowns at the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, October 3, the organizers confirmed. The Virgin Money London Marathon is part of the World Athletics Elite Platinum Label Road Race series.
Kosgei who collected the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo earlier this month will aim to win her third consecutive London Marathon title against what is expected to be a strong field.
“It is a great feeling to be coming back, as London is one of my favourite marathons,” said Kosgei, whose world record 2:14:04 was set at the 2019 Chicago Marathon.
“Last year’s win was very special, particularly given what the whole world was going through – it was fantastic just to have the London Marathon organised and even more so to be the winner. I hope to arrive again in very good shape and win for the third time.”
The Kenyan will race again just eight weeks after the Olympic marathon in Sapporo and she will be challenged by a star-studded list of competitors, headed by New York City Marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei and six other women who have run sub 2:20 in their career.
Ethiopians Roza Dereje, Birhane Dibaba, Degitu Azimeraw, Zeineba Yimer, and Tigist Girma, as well as Valary Jemeli are also included.
Meanwhile, Kitata who pulled out of the Tokyo Olympic marathon last weekend after suffering in the hot and humid conditions in Sapporo will lead the lineup on the men’s side.
Vincent Kipchumba and Sisay Lemma who also struggled in the heat in Sapporo, will join Kitata with the hope for improved conditions.
“I was disappointed to have to pull out of the Olympic Games marathon but I just did not adapt to the weather well,” said Kitata. “It was very cold in Ethiopia prior to leaving for Tokyo and when we got there the weather took its toll on my body and made my breathing very hard.
“But I’m healthy and looking forward to racing in the Virgin Money London Marathon again. I am preparing very well and my coach has me very ready to defend my title in London.
“Winning last year was an unforgettable memory and it gave me huge excitement to bring back such a big victory to my country and to make my family and coaches proud. I have set my mind on how I can run fast and better than last year and I’m looking forward to seeing if I can repeat the victory and make history in the race.”
Valencia Marathon champion and 2020 world leader Evans Chebet, in addition to two-time Tokyo Marathon champion Birhanu Legese will also be on the start line.
Mosinet Geremew and Mule Wasihun of Ethiopia who were 2019 London Marathon podium finishers are also set to compete.
London Marathon Elite field
Brigid Kosgei (KEN) 2:14:04
Roza Dereje (ETH) 2:18:30
Birhane Dibaba (ETH) 2:18:35
Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN) 2:18:40
Valary Jemeli (KEN) 2:19:10
Degitu Azimeraw (ETH) 2:19:26
Zeineba Yimer (ETH) 2:19:28
Tigist Girma (ETH) 2:19:52
Ashete Bekere (ETH) 2:20:14
Alemu Megertu (ETH) 2:21:10
Sinead Diver (AUS) 2:24:11
Allie Kieffer (USA) 2:28:12
Moira Stewartova (CZE) 2:29:28
Birhanu Legese (ETH) 2:02:48
Mosinet Geremew (ETH) 2:02:55
Titus Ekiru (KEN) 2:02:57
Evans Chebet (KEN) 2:03:00
Mule Wasihun (ETH) 2:03:16
Sisay Lemma (ETH) 2:03:36
Kinde Atanaw (ETH) 2:03:51
Shura Kitata (ETH) 2:04:49
Vincent Kipchumba (KEN) 2:05:09
Tristan Woodfine (CAN) 2:10:51