Posted by: Joe English | December 17, 2007

Races: London Marathon announces 2008 Men’s Elite Field

UPDATE: Live broadcast information for the Flora London Marathon is available by clicking here.

UPDATE: For more London Marathon pre-race coverage, click here.

The London Marathon has annouced it’s men’s elite field for the 2008 running. Defending champion Martin Lel will return in April in a bid to try to win his third Flora London Marathon in four years. Lel returns to London after winning the New York City Marathon in November. After the New York victory, the 29-year-old Kenyan became the first man ever to win the London and New York marathons in the same year.

Martin Lel 2005 London Marathon
Photo: Martin Lel wins the 2005 London Marathon

Winning in 2005 and again last year, Lel would become only the third man to win three London Marathons if he could win there again. The race will take place April 13th, 2008. Only Mexico’s Dionicio Ceron, between 1994 and 1996, and Portugal’s Antonio Pinto, in 1992, 1997 and 2000, have won the London race three times since it was first held in 1981.

“I am very pleased to be able to defend my title”, said Lel, who also finished runner-up in London in 2006. “I am training hard to make sure I am in top shape for my bid to win a third time. I know it will be tough but I love running in London and am confident I can win again”.

Lel will face some stiff competition next April. The field is packed with some of the greatest marathon runners in the world including the Olympic 2004 Athens champion Stefano Baldini of Italy and World Champion Luke Kibet of Kenya. They’ll be joined by the former world record holder, Paul Tergat, the second fastest man ever; his fellow-Kenyan Felix Limo, the 2006 London Marathon champion; and Morocco’s former double World Champion Jaouad Gharib.

“I believe this is one of the best fields we’ve ever assembled”, commented Flora London Marathon Race Director, David Bedford. “But it will not be easy for him as the opposition is of the highest quality and many of these stars will be hoping to prove their fitness before the Olympic Games in Beijing”.

Among the other runners capable of stopping Lel in his tracks are Kenya’s Emmanuel Mutai, the world’s second fastest marathon runner in 2007; Abderrahim Goumri, the Moroccan who was second last year; South Africa’s Hendrick Ramaala, the 2004 New York champion who’ll be making his seventh London appearance; Aleksey Sokolov, the Russian who broke his national record to win the 2007 Dublin Marathon in October; and Yonas Kifle, the Eritrean record holder.

Haile Gebrselassie will not be running in London, as he is chasing a title at the Dubai Marathon early next year. Winning in Dubai would mean a $250,000 prize and there is $1 million more on tap if he sets a world-record.

2008 London Marathon Elite Men’s Field (personal bests in brackets)
Paul Tergat (Kenya) 2:04:55
Felix Limo (Kenya) 2:06:14
Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) 2:06:29
Martin Lel (Kenya) 2:06:41
Hendrick Ramaala (South Africa) 2:06:55
Jaouad Gharib (Morroco) 2:07:02
Stefano Baldini (ITA) 2:07:22
Yonas Kifle (Eritrea) 2:07:34
Abderrahim Goumri (Morocco) 2:07:44
Luke Kibet (Kenya) 2:08:52
Aleksey Sokolov (Russia) 2:09:07

Coach Joe English, Portland Oregon USA
for Running Advice and News (www.running-advice.com)

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