© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated

Kenyan Amos Kipruto, the defending London Marathon champion is up against the strongest marathon field ever assembled on Sunday, April 23.

Toeing the line with Kipruto is Ethiopian running legend Kenenisa Bekele who currently holds the second-fastest time at 2:01:41 from the 2019 running of the Berlin Marathon. The question is, will the 40-year-old continue to be a factor as a master athlete? His running legacy is so deep that it is difficult to count him out.

Kipruto, 10 years his junior owns a best of 2:03:13 from Tokyo in March 2022. His London time was 2:04:39. Based on his bests and Bekele’s best Bekele may still very much be a factor in this race.

“I can’t wait to return to London as the champion,” said Kenya’s Kipruto.

“London always has a really strong field and this year is the same so I know I will face a battle to defend my title, but I’m confident and looking forward to it,” he added.”

The pair will have to contend with 23-year-old Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum, who ran the fastest marathon debut in history when he won the Valencia Marathon in the time of 2:01:53 on December 4, 2022.

An Ethiopian juggernaut will be in place — a quartet of very strong marathon runners in Kinde Atanew, Tamirat Tola, Birhanu Legese, and Mosinet Geremew.

In 2021, Tola ran 2:03:39 at the Amsterdam Marathon. In Valencia, he clocked 2:03:40. When Bekele nearly broke Eliud Kipchoge’s world record on the Berlin course in 2:19, Legese clocked a 2:02:48 performance. His 2020 Valencia performance was strong as well at 2:03:16. At age 28, he is in the prime of his running career.

Geremew has clocked a 2:02:55 but it has been a few years dating back to London 2019. Since he has pulled off a couple of 2:04s. He too is in the prime of his career.

Atanew enters the race with a personal best time of 2:03:51 from Valencia 2019.

Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya could be a factor in this race, and a bit of a dark horse. Although his best is 2:05:43, his half marathon personal record is still world-class at 58:01. His 10,000m best is one of the faster of the field at 26:52.65.

Sir Mo Farah is likely using London as his career Swan Song and hopes to go out on a high note and retire this year. He has shown great range and the ability to win when it counts, however, has yet to hit the marathon out of the park. His fastest to date is 2:05:11 from Chicago 2018, the British Marathon record.

The London Marathon returns to its pre-pandemic schedule in 2023 for the first time in three years.

Elite men

  • Amos Kipruto (KEN, PB 2:03:13)
  • Kenenisa Bekele (ETH, 2:01:41)
  • Kelvin Kiptum (KEN, 2:01:53)
  • Birhanu Legese (ETH, 2:02:48)
  • Mosinet Geremew (ETH, 2:02:55)
  • Tamirat Tola (ETH, 2:03:39)
  • Kinde Atanaw (ETH, 2:03:51)
  • Leul Gebresilase (ETH, 2:04:02)
  • Vincent Kipchumba (KEN, 2:04:28)
  • Seifu Tura (ETH, 2:04:29)
  • Sir Mo Farah (GBR, 2:05:11)
  • Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN, 2:05:23)
  • Yuki Kawauchi (JPN, 2:07:27)
  • Brett Robinson (AUS, 2:07:31)
  • Dewi Griffiths (GBR, 2:09:49)
  • Rory Linkletter (CAN, 2:10:24)
  • Chris Thompson (GBR, 2:10:52)
  • Tom Gröschel (GER, 2:11:03)
  • Ben Connor (GBR, 2:11:20)
  • Joshua Griffiths (GBR, 2:11:28)
  • Frank Lara (USA, 2:11:32)
  • Luke Caldwell (GBR, 2:11:33)
  • Weynay Ghebresilasie (GBR, 2:11:57)
  • Phil Sesemann (GBR, 2:12:10)
  • Charlie Hulson (GBR, 2:13:34)
  • Andrew Heyes (GBR, 2:13:52)
  • Adam Craig (GBR, 2:13:58)
  • Alex Monroe (USA, 2:14:15)
  • Ross Braden (GBR, 2:14:32)
  • Nick Earl (GBR, 2:14:38)
  • Nigel Martin (GBR, 2:15:19)
  • Ronnie Richmond (GBR, 2:16:59)
  • Nick Bowker (GBR, 2:17:35)
  • Alex Milne (GBR, 2:17:40)
  • Josh Lunn (GBR, 2:17:59)
  • Fraser Stewart (GBR, 2:18:40)
  • Matthew Dickinson (GBR, 2:19:23)
  • Emile Cairess (GBR, debut)
  • Sean Tobin (IRL, debut)
  • Ryan Forsyth (IRL, debut)