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Fastest-ever marathoners to race head-to-head at 2020 London Marathon

The London Marathon is giving the people what they want: a Kipchoge–Bekele showdown

The London Marathon is giving the people what they want. Kenenisa Bekele has been added to the men’s elite line up for the 2020 London Marathon and will face world record holder Eliud Kipchoge in a head-to-head showdown. Earlier this week we published a story outlining our disappointment that the two wouldn’t race this spring, but we’re thrilled to learn that it is, in fact, going down.

Kipchoge comes in with a personal best of 2:01:39, which is the current world record. The runner also has an unofficial PB, considered a world best, from the INEOS 1:59 which is 1:59:40.

Kenenisa Bekele

Bekele’s PB of 2:01:41 is only two seconds off of Kipchoge’s official world record. He ran the time at the 2019 Berlin Marathon, shocking running fans who had almost entirely counted the runner out for the win, let alone the second-fastest time ever run.


London 2020 will also feature the fifth-fastest marathoner of all time, Mosinet Geremew, who owns a 2:02:55 PB.

Olympic 10,000m at the 2012 London Olympics. Photo: Citizen59 via Wikmedia Commons.

RELATED: Kipchoge vs. Bekele: Who comes out on top? 

On the track Bekele dominated Kipchoge, but on the marathon course, Bekele has yet to beat the world record holder. The last time the two met was at the London Marathon in 2018 where Kipchoge won his third London Marathon title and Bekele placed sixth. But Bekele seems to have a new lease on the roads–he’s not the Bekele of London 2018, he’s a new (2:01 running) Bekele.

It’s far from decided as to who will win in London. Bekele is certainly the underdog, but don’t count him out. All of the action will start at 5:10 a.m. ET on Sunday April 26.