On 17 April, champions Tsegaye Kebede and Liliya Sjobukhova will have to defend their marathon titles against two fantastic athletes announced by the organisers. However, these two athletes are not the only one that will be great competitors while all six medal winners from this year will be at start line in 2011, so gaining a medal will be a tough job.
Ethiopian Kebede and Russian Shobukhova are the best runners at this years’ marathon and they will face Olympic and World champions; race director Mr Bedford said that next year’s marathons will be the toughest ever, for both men and women.
Sammy Wanjiru – Olympic champion from Kenia – will be Kebede’s main competitor. He managed to beat him in Chicago this October and is keen to repeat this in 2011 as well. Moreover, he set the course record at 2:05:10 while Kebede arrived 9 seconds after him. Wanjiru is not the only one to be afraid while among the competitors we will see big names like Bazu Worku – 3rd in Berlin, Bouramdane Abderrahime – 4th in London, Marilson Gomes dos Santos- two times winner in New York and Victor Rothlin – European title winner in August.
On the other hand, next year’s favourite is Russian Shobukhova for women – Chicago Marathon and World Marathon Majors winner. Her top competitors will be Irina Mikitenko – champ in 2008 and 2009 and China’s Zhou Chunxiu – champ in 2007. From China as well, World champion Bai Xue will compete as well, from Romania Constantina Dita, for her 10th London run, Tafa and Bekele from Ethiopia and Aberu Kebede, winner in Berlin.
Other competitors returning back to London Marathon are Liz Yelling – UK Olympian and Andrew Lemoncello – 8th place in 2009. This competition should be a tough one with strong competitors, big names returning and many vanities among contestants.