Virgin Money London Marathon has announced that world record holder and defending London champion, Brigid Kosgei, will headline a stellar women's field in the 40th VMLM on Sunday, 26 April 2020.
The Kenyan lady who rewrote the record books at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon last October has her eyes on the prize when she runs and we can expect more of the same in the capital in a few months time.
Kosgei became the undisputed fastest female marathon runner in history when she lopped a massive 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe's 16-year-old mixed sex record (2:15:25) set in London 2003. Kosgei's 2:14:04 in Chicago represents a quantum leap forward for women's endurance.
Kosgei favours a fast start – she ran 25:10 for the first five miles in Chicago and 66:59 at halfway – so the London course, with its favourable opening, clearly suits her attacking style. Indeed, she has predicted that an even faster time is possible, saying in the immediate euphoria after her Chicago triumph: “I think 2:10 is possible for a lady. I am focused on reducing my time again.”
London currently holds a separate elite women's race, so the current women's course record and women-only world record (2:17:01) held by Mary Keitany from Kenya is clearly under threat. Regarding this year's London challenge Kosgei said: “I am very much looking forward to returning to the Virgin Money London Marathon. Last year was an incredible year for me and it started by winning in London. Coming back will be very special and I hope it can be the start of another memorable year.”
Kosgei may be hot favourite for the 2020 London Marathon but she is joined by a plethora of potential rivals, four of whom have also run sub 2:19 marathons. The start list includes 2018 London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya); three-time BMW Berlin Marathon champion Gladys Cherono (Kenya); 2019 Valencia Marathon champion Roza Dereje (Ethiopia) and current world champion Ruth Chepngetich (Kenya).
Also competing is world half marathon record holder (1:04:51) and 2019 New York Marathon champion Joyciline Jepkosgei (Kenya) who is joint top of the Abbott World Marathon Majors (AWMM) Series XIII alongside Kosgei and Chepngetich.
Spencer Barden, Head of Elite Athletes at VMLM, said: “We are proud to have assembled another world-class elite women’s field for the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon, led by our defending champion Brigid Kosgei. It is a mouth-watering prospect to see what she can do on her return to the Virgin Money London Marathon”.
Image of Brigid Kosgei courtesy Virgin Money London Marathon