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Here we come: Champion Cheruiyot leads Keitany, Cherono in London race

Vivian Cheruiyot
Vivian Cheruiyot

Defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot and 2018 New York City Marathon winner Mary Keitany will return to the Virgin Money London Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on April 28.

They join their compatriots Gladys Cherono, the 2018 Berlin Marathon champion, and Brigid Kosgei, who won the Chicago Marathon in October, meaning the winners of the past four Abbott World Marathon Majors will be on the London start line.

Cheruiyot, who is also the Olympic 5000m champion and the runner-up behind Keitany in New York last November, said: “It was a great moment for me winning last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon and I am very much looking forward to returning in April.

“The line-up for this year’s race is, once again, incredibly strong so I know I will need to be at my very best to repeat last year’s victory but it is a challenge that I’m really looking forward to. I will be ready,” said Cheruiyot also known as the ‘Pocket Rocket’

Also confirmed to run are the Ethiopian trio of Tirunesh Dibaba, the three-time Olympic champion on the track and third fastest woman of all time, who finished second in London and won Chicago in 2017; Tadelech Bekele, who finished third in London last year; and 21-year-old Roza Dereje, second in Chicago and winner of the Dubai Marathon in 2018.

Elsewhere, Richard Yator finished second in the 2nd Northern Ireland International Cross Country, an IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting at Dundonald, Belfast, on Saturday.

Yator clocked second 29:46 with Bahrain’s Birhnau Balew winning the event in 29:42.

Ethiopia’s Chalo Beyo was third in 29:48. Olympic 10,000 metres silver medallist Paul Tanui was placed fourth in 29:53.

In the women’s category, Pauline Kamulu finished third in 26:13 while Sandra Felis Chebet was placed fourth in 27:10. The race was won by Ethiopia’s Meskerem Mayo in 26:10.