Haile Berlin MarathonHaile Gebrselassie, the man regarded by many as the greatest distance runner of all time, will be the main pacemaker for the men’s race at the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 13 April, race organisers announced on Monday (17).

The IAAF Gold Label Road Race will take place just five days short of Gebrselassie’s 41st birthday.

Gebrselassie won two Olympic Games and four IAAF World Championship gold medals over 10,000m, and twice broke the marathon world record, will pace the leading men to 30km at world record speed.

It is the first time the former world record holder has run as a pacemaker in a top-class international race, and the London Marathon race director, Hugh Brasher, welcomed the addition of the legendary Ethiopian.

“We are delighted to announce that Haile Gebrselassie has agreed to run as a pacemaker in this year’s race,” said Brasher.

“Haile is an icon of distance running, a man who has broken 27 world records on the track and road during his long and brilliant career, and we can’t think of anyone better to set our elite men up for a crack at the world marathon record.

“Everyone knows how difficult it is to break the world record on London’s course, especially with such a competitive field, but with Haile pacing and four of the fastest marathon runners in history in the race, there’s a real chance we will see something special.”

Among the world-class athletes who are expected to follow Gebrselassie’s lead are:  Great Britain’s double Olympic and World champion Mo Farah, the current marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang, the reigning London Marathon champion Tsegaye Kebede, the World and Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich, and the London Marathon course record holder Emmanuel Mutai. Read more at IAAF.org