This is Justin Lagat’s preview of the 2023 London Marathon. The fields stack up as crazy fast, but the excitement from London seems to be lacking. RunBlogRun will keep you updated over the weekend and will provide live remote social media coverage, London time on Sunday, April 23, 2023. 

No one knows when Eliud Kipchoge’s reign in the men’s marathon distance will end. Of course, he could bounce back after his sixth-place finish at the Boston Marathon. Nevertheless, the talk about the next Kipchoge is already rife, and the London Marathon on Sunday (23rd) will provide a stage for other great distance runners to prove their worth in becoming the “next in line.”

Brigid Kosgei, Chicago Marathon 2019, by Kevin Morris

Much focus will be on Kenya’s 24-year-old Kelvin Kiptum, who surprised the world with a fantastic marathon debut of 2:01:53 at the Valencia Marathon in December last year. This will be his first time running a world marathon majors’ event, and given his age, he is most likely yet to reach his peak in running.

Alma Ayana, London 2017, photo by Kevin Morris

One of the greatest runners to be beaten by the new generation will be Ethiopia’s legendary runner, Kenenisa Bekele. Bekele has the fastest personal best time of 2:01:41, which is also the second fastest time in history, a time he set in September 2019 at the Berlin Marathon. However, his performances in the marathon have often been as unpredictable as the weather at the Boston Marathon (one of the two world Marathon majors he has yet to run).

Defending champion Amos Kipruto has a personal best time of 2:03:13 set in Tokyo last year and will have a great competition as he hopes to defend his 2022 London Marathon title in one of the deepest fields ever assembled for the iconic race. However, his training mates, Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto, already performed well at the Boston Marathon and could boost his morale ahead of the race.

Genzeba Dibaba, IAAF World Track & Field Championships 2017
London, UK August 4-13, 2017
Photo: KevinMorris

Another Kenyan to watch is Geoffrey Kamworor. He has had a great cross country season, finishing fourth at the World Athletics Cross Country championships in Bathurst, Australia, in February. He could transfer the speed he gained in his preparations for the global event and post a good time in London.

Geoffrey Kamworor, KEN, NN, Nike, wins
TCS New York City Marathon 2019

Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola (2:03:39) comes in as the reigning world marathon champion, although he has not been so successful in the London Marathon course in the past, having finished sixth in 2019 and 2020.

The women’s elite field looks even more competitive than the men’s.

Peres Jepchechir, 126th Boston Marathon
April 18, 2022, photo by Kevin Morris

“This is quite simply the greatest women’s field ever assembled for a marathon – arguably the greatest field ever assembled for a women’s distance race. We have two reigning Olympic champions, three world record holders, and multiple national record holders, in addition to an incredibly strong British contingent led by Eilish McColgan,” said Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the TCS London Marathon. (Edit note: McColgan will not race).

However, with Kenya’s reigning Olympic Marathon Champion, Peres Jepchirchir, and the world record holder, Brigid Kosgei, the chances for the Briton to place on the podium look grim.

Dominique Scott, Sound Running The TEN
JSerra High School, San Juan Capistrano, CA
March 4, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris

The Ethiopian runners in the women’s elite field, led by the defending champion Yalemzerf Yehualaw who has a personal best time of 2:17:23, are relatively new and strong stars who just moved into the marathon event but show great potential in dominating it in the near future.

One runner to keep a close watch on is Tigist Assefa, who registered a new Ethiopian record of 2:15:37 to win the Berlin Marathon last year. The other Ethiopian is Almaz Ayana, who successfully entered the marathon scene last year with a 2:17:20 to win the Amsterdam Marathon.

Sifan Hassan, World Athletics Championships
Eugene, Oregon, USA
July15-26, 2022, by Kevin Morris

Also worth watching out for is multiple Olympic and world 10,000m/5000m runner Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands as she makes her marathon debut.