Kenyan contingent to continue dominance of London Marathon elite races
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | April 22, 2016
Africans to show strength across sexes in London Marathon
While many people compete in the London Marathon for the challenge of completing the 26 miles plus course around the British capital, the elite races are part of the rich tapestry of the eternal athletics rivalry between Kenya and Ethiopia.
Long-distance runners from these African countries dominate the Marathon circuit. Each of the last 13 men’s elite races have been claimed by either a Kenyan (10) or an Ethiopian (three) athlete.
It’s a similar story for the women since 2010, with Kenya having taken four of the last six, and the other two being won by a representative of Ethiopia.
Bearing all this in mind, who looks like a bet to come good in this ultimate test of endurance? Here are the thoughts of our athletics expert on respective elite men’s and women’s races.
Course record holder Kipsang cannot be counted out
No athlete has run the London Marathon faster than Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich, who won his second edition of this race in 2014 in a record time of 2:04:29. Although beaten last year by fellow Kenyan competitor Eliud Kipchoge, Kipsang has a curious pattern in his favour.
When entering the London Marathon in years with an even number, Kipsang has come first. While Kipchoge is made a narrow 13/8 favourite to pip him to first again, there is no denying Kipsang’s obvious quality, and he represents real value at 2/1 to regain the crown.
Kenya had the first four home last year, with men’s world record holder Dennis Kipruto Kimetto (11/2 to win the London Marathon this year) and Stanley Biwott (13/2) set to go again and press their teammates hard.
Ethiopia’s best hope could be track specialist Kenenisa Bekele, but he is a relative 10/1 outsider to the Kenyan contingent, who train entirely to race on roads.
Keitany to gain compensation
Another two-time London Marathon winner, Mary Jepkosgei Keitany looks worth a wager to add a third crown to her medal collection this year, because only course record holder Paula Radcliffe has won in a faster time.
Although Keitany still has three minutes or so to find in order to even challenge that fastest ever race, the Kenyan is a firm 13/8 favourite to win for the first time since 2012.
Tigist Tufa was a surprise victor for Ethiopia in last year’s London Marathon, but in a time that is relatively slow by modern standards. She is 5/2 to retain her title.
Florence Kiplagat (6/1) could be compatriot Keitany’s biggest danger, with former London Marathon women’s elite race winners Aselefech Mergia (7/1) and Priscah Jeptoo (9/1) and Beijing World Atheltics Championships victor Mare Dibaba (7/1) also set to be in the mix.
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