Can Kitata take the series lead in London?

Shura Kitata can leap to the top of the AbbottWMM series XIII leaderboard when he bids to claim a second straight Virgin Money London Marathon title.

The Ethiopian triumphed in the city in 2020 and carried high hopes into the recent Olympic marathon. He toiled in the heat, however and was among several big name who did not record a finish in Sapporo.

“I was disappointed to have to pull out of the Olympic Games marathon but I just did not adapt to the weather well,” he said.

“It was very cold in Ethiopia prior to leaving for Tokyo and when we got there the weather took its toll on my body and made my breathing very hard. But I’m healthy and looking forward to racing in the Virgin Money London Marathon again. I am preparing very well and my coach has me very ready to defend my title in London.”

Conditions in London this October will be much more favorable to Kitata and a field that includes all three men who made the 2020 podium, with Vincent Kipchumba and Sisay Lemma also returning.

All three will have to contend with London debutant and two-time Tokyo Marathon winner Birhanu Legese, who boasts the third fastest marathon of all time with a 2:02:48 set in Berlin in 2019.

Legese is level with his countryman Kitata on 25 points, so a shootout between the two could see one of them finish the weekend in pole position for the series title.

Meanwhile, Brigid Kogsei leads a stellar lineup in the elite international women's field. FULL STORY