Though Nike’s Breaking2 project has ruled out three of the world’s top distance runners for the spring, the 2017 London Marathon announced a staggering men’s field on Monday.
Kenenisa Bekele, arguably the greatest runner in history as he is the world record holder in the 5,000m and 10,000m and boasts the second fastest marathon time ever, is the biggest name on the list. Kenya’s Stanley Biwott and Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Abera and Feyisa Lelisa, who finished second in the marathon at the Rio Olympics, round out the top-four in terms of fastest all-time bests. (The women’s field for the London Marathon will be announced at a later date.)
The 2017 London Marathon is set for April 23, less than one week after the famed Boston Marathon. Because of the proximity of the two world marathon majors, other top runners, including Galen Rupp, have opted to run Boston instead of London.
In an interesting twist, it appears that Bekele will be gunning for the men’s world record at an earlier date than London as LetsRun.com reports that he is running Dubai on Jan. 20. The world record is held by Dennis Kimetto at 2:02:57, which Bekele has come within six seconds of at the 2016 Berlin Marathon. There is a US$200,000 prize for first in Dubai and an additional US$100,000 bonus for a world record.
Both Dubai and London are very fast courses. London would mark Bekele’s third tough marathon in seven months dating back to Berlin in September.
Another interesting name to watch will be 2016 Chicago Marathon champion Abel Kirui, who returned to form last year after winning two world championship marathon titles earlier in his career. The majority of the men’s elite field is comprised of East Africans from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Kenya. No Canadians were announced as part of the London Marathon field.
Meanwhile, Eliud Kipchoge, Zersenay Tadese and Lelisa Desisa will be part of Nike’s sub-two-hour marathon attempt, expected for this spring. The project is expected to be run on a closed course, not part of a marathon, and full of technological innovations in an effort to shave almost three minutes off the existing world record.
The 2017 IAAF World Championships will be held in London this summer.
Men’s elite field
— London Marathon (@LondonMarathon) January 9, 2017
Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 2:03:03
Stanley Biwott (KEN) 2:03:51
Tesfaye Abera (ETH) 2:04:24
Feyisa Lilesa (ETH) 2:04:52
Abel Kirui (KEN) 2:05:04
Daniel Wanjiru (KEN) 2:05:21
Tilahun Regassa (ETH) 2:05:27
Abraham Tadesse (SUI) 2:06:40
Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (ERI) 2:07:46
Amanuel Mesel (ERI) 2:08:17
Asefa Mengstu (ETH) 2:08:41
Oleksandr Sitkovsky (UKR) 2:09:11
Alphonce Felix Simbu (TAN) 2:09:19
Javier Guerra (ESP) 2:09:33
Ghebre Kibrom (ERI) 2:09:36
Vitaliy Shafar (UKR) 2:09:53
Michael Shelley (AUS) 2:11:15
Chris Thompson (GBR) 2:11:19
Bayron Piedra (ECU) 2:14:12
Kevin Seaward (IRL) 2:14:52
Mick Clohisey (IRL) 2:15:11
Robbie Simpson (GBR) 2:15:38
Ian Kimpton (GBR) 2:15:55
Matthew Hynes (GBR) 2:16:00
Bouabdellah Tahri (FRA) 2:16:28
Andrew Davies (GBR) 2:16:55
Tom Anderson (GBR) 2:19:52
Jesús Arturo Esparza (MEX) 2:23:04
Bedan Karoki Muchiri (KEN) Debut