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Elite men’s race preview

Shura Kitata (ETH) caused one of the biggest upsets in London Marathon history last year when he beat the great Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) and a whole host of other star names to win the elite-only Virgin Money London Marathon around St James’s Park. Kitata returns this year looking to get his first win on the traditional course from Greenwich to Westminster after a second place (2018) and a fourth place (2019) on his previous two races on the famous route.

But the Ethiopian, who pulled out of the Olympic Games marathon in Tokyo and has a personal best (PB) of 2:04:49, will face stiff competition, as there are six men that have faster lifetime bests than him in the field.

That list includes Birhanu Legese (ETH), the third-fastest man of all time over the marathon distance (2:02:48) and a two-time winner of the Tokyo Marathon, who is making his London debut, and Mosinet Geremew (ETH), one of the most consistent marathon runners on the planet. Geremew has never finished outside the top five in a major marathon he has raced in and was second in London in 2019, where he set his PB of 2:02:55.

Also in the field is the fastest man over the marathon distance in 2021, Titus Ekiru (KEN), who ran 2:02:57 to win the Milan Marathon in May, and the fastest man over 26.2 miles in 2020, Evans Chebet, who won last year’s Valencia Marathon in 2:03:00.

Sisay Lemma (ETH, PB 2:03:36), third in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon last year, and Kinde Atanaw (ETH, PB 2:03:51), the 2019 Valencia Marathon champion are the other men to have run inside 2:05.

One man who has not broken the 2:05 barrier but who will be a threat to every one else in the field is Vincent Kipchumba (KEN), who was second in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, just losing out in a sprint to Kitata.

The British field will be led by Jonny Mellor (PB 2:10:05), the first Brit at last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon, who missed the Tokyo Olympics after picking up an ankle injury ahead of the trial race in Kew Gardens in March.

Mohamud Aadan (PB 2:12:20), who was third in that trial race in Kew Gardens and makes his London debut, Joshua Griffiths (PB 2:13:11) and Charlie Hulson (PB 2:13:34) are other names to look out for.