This weekend's London Marathon will be the biggest running event since the Covid 19 pandemic began.
40,000 runners will line up for the 42.195-kilometer race through London on Sunday. This means the field of participants is only slightly smaller than at the last public staging two years ago (an elite race was organized in 2020).
The elite field for the 2021 London Marathon is also impressive. Traditionally, the marathon on the Thames invites an enormously high number of world-class runners. This year, however, things are different. That's because the elite fields are surprisingly sparse, but with outstanding quality.
Brigid Kosgei wants the London Triple
Although superstar Eliud Kipchoge is not at the start after his Olympic victory in Japan, marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei is. The Kenyan wants to redeem herself after her 2nd place at the Olympic Games in London. There she is aiming for her 3rd win in a row after winning in 2019 in 2:18:20 hours and in 2020 at the elite race in 2:18:58 hours. Only Germany's Katrin Dörre-Heinig has ever managed three wins in a row in London in the women's race from 1992 to 1994. Kosgei even gave up a start in the Chicago Marathon for this mission, which helped her set a new marathon world record two years ago.
4 runners challenge Brigid Kosgei
However, it will definitely not be a walk to victory for Brigid Kosgei. Nine female athletes will compete in the London Marathon 2021 with a best time of under 2:20 hours, five of them even with a time under 2:19 hours: In addition to Israel's Lonah Salpeter (2:17:45 hours) and Ethiopia's Roza Dereje (2:18:30 hours), these include Kosgei's compatriots Birhane Dibaba (2:18:35 hours) and former half marathon world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei (2:18:40 hours). Dibaba and Salpeter, like Kosgei, competed in the Olympic marathon. However, the duo dropped out during the race, unlike Kosgei. Roza Dereje finished 4th in Tokyo, while Jepkosgei travels to the London Marathon with fresh legs. Sei also impressed in August at the Berlin Half Marathon with a new course record of 65:16 minutes.
6 times under 2:04 hours
In the men's race, only eight athletes appear in the final start list with a marathon best time of under 2:10 hours. However, six of them with a best under 2:04 hours. So the quality of the top has it in itself. The top 4 of the entry list are separated by only 12 seconds. The elite field is led by Ethiopian Birhanu Legese, who ran 2:04:48 hours in Berlin in 2019. The top favorite, however, is possibly Titus Ekiru, who set the current world best time of 2:02:57 at the Milan Marathon in May. Mosinet Geremew also has a best time under 2:02:55. Defending champion Shura Kitata, on the other hand, is only an outsider with a best of 2:04:49 hours, especially since he had to pull out injured at the Olympic Marathon in Japan.
Prize money at the London Marathon
The winners will receive prize money of 55,000 US dollars each. For a time under 2:03 hours (men) or under 2:18 hours (women) a bonus of 100,000 US dollars is guaranteed. For a time under 2:02 hours or 2:17:30 hours there is even 150,000 US dollars. However, strong winds could be a spoiler.
London Marathon LIVE on TV
The race will be broadcast live on BBC ONE (11 am) and BBC Two (9 am).
Starting list London Marathon 2021 - Men
- Birhanu Legese (Ethiopia) - Personal Best: 2:02:48 hours
- Mosinet Geremew (Ethiopia) - 2:02:55 hrs
- Titus Ekiru (Kenya) - 2:02:57 h
- Evans Chebet (Kenya) - 2:03:00 h
- Sisay Lemma (Ethiopia) - 2:03:36 h
- Kinde Atanaw (Ethiopia) - 2:03:51 h
- Shura Kitata (Ethiopia) - 2:04:49 h
- Bashir Abdi (Belgium) 2:04:49 h
- Vincent Kipchumba (Kenya) - 2:05:09 h
Start List London Marathon 2021 - Women
- Brigid Kosgei (Kenya) - 2:14:04 h
- Lonah Salpeter (Israel) - 2:17:45 h
- Roza Dereje (Ethiopia) - 2:18:30 h
- Birhane Dibaba (Ethiopia) - 2:18:35 h
- Joyciline Jepkosgei (Kenya) - 2:18:40 h
- Valary Jemeli (Kenya) - 2:19:10 h
- Degitu Azimeraw (Ethiopia) - 2:19:26 h
- Zeineba Yimer (Ethiopia) - 2:19:28 h
- Tigist Girma (Ethiopia) - 2:19:52 h