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Elite women’s race preview

Can Kosgei make it three back-to-back wins?

World record holder Brigid Kosgei (KEN) is aiming to be the first woman since Katrin Dorre in the early 1990s to win three back-to-back London Marathons.

Kosgei, who surprisingly finished second behind countrywoman Peres Jepchirchir in the Tokyo Olympic marathon, has produced two dominant victories in 2019 and 2020, which were sandwiched in between her setting a new world record of 2:14:04 at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October 2019.

There will be a stacked field of talent lining up alongside Kosgei on the Start Line, including eight other women who have run inside 2 hours 20 minutes.

Lonah Salpeter (ISR) is the next fastest in the field. The 2020 Tokyo Marathon champion has a personal best of 2:17:45, which was set in her win in Tokyo and which makes her the seventh-fastest woman in history.

Other Abbott World Marathon Major winners racing in London include Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN), the reigning TCS New York City Marathon, and Birhane Dibaba (ETH), who has won the Tokyo Marathon on three occasions.

Roza Dereje (ETH), Valary Jemeli (KEN), Degitu Azimeraw (ETH), Zeineba Yimer (ETH) and Tigist Girma (ETH) are the other athletes to have run inside 2:20.

Another name to look out for is Australian Sinead Diver, who at 44 finished tenth in the Tokyo Olympic Marathon and who has two top 10 finishes in the past two Virgin Money London Marathons.

Diver is a training partner of Charlotte Purdue, who is the fastest Brit in the field and will be hoping to qualify for a spot on the British team for the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in 2022.

British Athletics will automatically select the first finisher at the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon, providing they have the qualifying time of 2:29:30 for women.

Purdue will be particularly keen to put the disappointment of not being selected for the Tokyo Olympic marathon behind her.

She was not selected despite being the first GB finisher at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon where she set the fourth-fastest time ever by a Brit of 2:25:38.

Other Brits running include Natasha Cockram, who was the first UK woman at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, and Sam Harrison, the fastest British half marathoner of 2021.