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2021 Virgin Money London Marathon elite field announcement

Canada's Tristan Woodfine is one of the elite men running in London

Women’s world record-holder and Olympic silver medallist Brigid Kosgei and Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata will look to defend their 2019 titles at Virgin Money London Marathon on October 3.

Kosgei is the fastest woman in history over the marathon distance (2:14:04) and has won in London twice: once in 2019, and her second victory came in the elite-only race which took place in October, 2020. She will be making her fourth straight appearance in London and will seek her third straight title. Kosgei will have her work cut out for her, as she will be up against seven of the 40 fastest women of all time in the marathon distance.

Other elites in the women’s field who hope to dethrone the world record holder are the winner of the 2019 New York City Marathon, Joyciline Jepkosgei, two-time Tokyo Marathon champion Birhane Dibaba, and recent fourth-place finisher in Sapporo, Roza Dereje. Kosgei, Jepkosgei, and Dereje will be forced to make a quick transition in their training after the Olympics, as the three athletes have eight weeks to prepare for London. Other notable elites in this field are Sinead Diver of Australia (who finished 10th at Tokyo 2020) and 2018 Toronto Scotiabank Half Marathon champ Allie Kieffer, who looks to make a return to the marathon after dropping out of the U.S. Olympic Trials in 202o.

RELATED: Jepchirchir beats Kosgei, Molly Seidel takes bronze in Olympic marathon

On the men’s side, Kitata aims to repeat after his sensational sprint finish victory over rival Vincent Kipchumba in 2020, and he will be looking for redemption in London after dropping out of the Olympic marathon in Sapporo. “I was very disappointed to have to pull out of the marathon at the Olympic Games, but I did not adapt to the weather in Japan. It was very cold in Ethiopia before arriving in Tokyo, and the warmer weather took a toll on my body,” Kitata said to the London Marathon media. Kitata states that he is healthy and eager to defend his title in London.

The men’s field will feature three athletes who have run under 2:03: Birhanu Legese (2019 and 2020 Tokyo Marathon champion), Mosinet Geremew (2019 World Championship silver medallist) and Titus Ekiru, who has the fastest time in the world this year, at 2:02:57.

Canada’s Tristan Woodfine will return to the streets of London after setting a personal best 2:10:51 here in October, 2020. Woodfine will not only have his eyes on the 2022 world championships standard of 2:11:30, but will look to become the third-ever Canadian marathoner to run under the 2:10 barrier.

Tristan Woodfine is on his way to a 2:13 personal best at STWM19. Photo: Todd Fraser/CRS

RELATED: Tristan Woodfine’s pre-run activation routine

The 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon returns to its traditional course starting in Greenwich Park to the finish line along The Mall, after last year’s elite-only race on multiple closed-loop circuits around St James’s Park. Up to 50,000 runners are expected on the starting line in the mass race and up to 50,000 around the world will hope to run the virtual event.

The full elite list for the Virgin Money London Marathon can be found here: