Nairobi â€” ETHIOPIAN athletes have emerged the biggest threat to local runners’ quest to win the forthcoming 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon.
The major track competition is scheduled for April 13 in the English capital city.
Interestingly, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has since selected the two time Olympic and four time IAAF World Championship gold winner, Haile GebrselassieÂ of Ethiopia to be the competition’s main pacemaker for the men’s race.
Men will compete in the 30km road race while women will run in the 12.5km.
While Kenya’s Emmanuel Mutai has already vowed to bring the gold medal back home, Gebrselassie is set to introduce fellow country-boy, 18-year-old Tsegaye Mekonnen, who has been included to the London field after his sterling performance at the Dubai Marathon early this year.
Mutai, who won the London Marathon in 2011 hopes to make great strides since this competition has both the glamour, prestige and most importantly – huge cash prizes.
Mutai’s participation in the upcoming marathon would be the seventh time although he has one gold medal to show for it.
Mutai, who is ranked the fourth fastest 42km runner in the world, is presently preparing for marathon under the Kaptagat stable in Uasin Gishu County where both his speed and endurance are being tested ahead of this lucrative event.
In the women’s race, though traditional Russian long distance runners will be there, but the main focus will be on the rivalry between Kenya and Ethiopia again.
Kenya’s Priscah Jeptoo will battle out with Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba, who won the 2013 New York Marathon as the race for supremacy takes centre stage in London.
Another pair to spice up the race will be Ethiopia’s Olympic champion, Tiki Gelana, and Edna Kiplagat.