LONDON (Sporting Alert) — Several long distance runner will be hoping to confirm their selection for their respective country’s Olympic Games with a good outing at this year’s Virgin London Marathon on Sunday.
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With the Kenyan team being one of the toughest to make for marathon runners, two individuals – defending champions Emmanuel Mutai and Mary Keitany – target winning performances to make sure they are in.
Mutai, 27, dominated the last time out with a race record time of 2:04:40 and he will be looking for a top three slot come Sunday.
“The selection is challenging,” Mutai admitted, “but I think if I can finish in the top three here I will qualify.
“The extra pressure is there because of the Olympic selection but I’ve been concentrating on running well in London.
“What comes after, I will think about then.”
Mutai, who suffered a from typhoid last month, which affected sections of his preparation, has never finished outside the top four in London and he said he will be banking on his previous outings to assist him.
“For me it’s an advantage but what matters is how the body will respond on that day,” he said.
“I cannot say I want to run this time… the most important thing is that when the race starts and you’ve reached halfway you can feel then what time you might do.”
Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede, the 2010 winner, world champion Abel Kirui, Wilson Kipsang and of the world record holder Patrick Makau.
Meanwhile, Keitany will also have her hands full when she goes to defend her crown against world champion Edna Kiplagat and Irina Mikitenko, the 2008 and 2009 London champion.
More than 37,500 runners are expected to line up for the starter on Sunday morning.