NAIROBI, December 2 – World marathon champion Catherine Ndereba will make a comeback in next year’s London marathon race on April 26.,
The 36 year old has only competed once before in the British capital and that was way back in 2003 when she finished second behind Paula Radcliffe. Her time of 2:19:55 was also the last time she clocked a sub 2:20 time.
Ndereba will face strong competition for top honours with World record holder Radcliffe, Olympic champion Constantina Dita and reigning champion Irina Mikitenko all in attendance.
Radcliffe is aiming to emulate her mentor Ingrid Kristiansen who won the London Marathon four times between 1984 and 1988.
“It’s fantastic to be back at the London Marathon,” said Radcliffe. “I’ve missed the last three years through injuries and it was frustrating not to be fully fit for the Olympic Games this summer.
“But after my victory in New York last month I’m hungry to win back my title and join Ingrid in the record books.”
After her impressive victory in 2008, Mikitenko will not want to give up her title easily. The German went on to win the Berlin Marathon in September and last month was crowned the 2007/08 World Marathon Majors champion.
Olympic gold medallist Constantina Dita returns to London for the eighth time seeking her first win in the British capital. The 38-year-old Romanian surprised many with her bold victory in Beijing but she’ll face a test every bit as tough in London.
China’s Zhou Chunxiu, the Olympic bronze medallist and 2007 Flora London champion, and Ethiopia’s Gete Wami, second in London two years ago and the inaugural World Marathon Majors champion are also entered.
Wami is joined by her compatriot Berhane Adere, a double winner of the Chicago Marathon, while the Russian veterans Lyudmila Petrova and Svetlana Zakharova also return to London seeking their first wins.
Both have finished second in the past – Petrova in 2006 and Zakharova in 2008. Petrova also finished 2nd behind Radcliffe in the New York Marathon this November.
Flora London Marathon race director David Bedford said: “We are delighted to welcome Paula back to the Flora London Marathon after an absence of four years. Her superb victory in New York showed that she is back to full fitness.
“Naturally, she is keen to regain her London title but this will be her toughest marathon yet. With nine women who have run quicker than 2:22, this is without doubt the best field we’ve ever assembled for the women’s race.
“The array of former champions, record holders, world and Olympic champions means London will be treated to a spectacular demonstration of marathon running on 26 April.”
The 2009 women’s elite field:
Irina Mikitenko GER 2:19:19
Paula Radcliffe GBR 2:15:25
Catherine Ndereba KEN 2:18:47
Zhou Chunxiu CHN 2:19:51
Berhane Adere ETH 2:20:42
Lyudmila Petrova RUS 2:21:29
Constantina Dita ROU 2:21:30
Svetlana Zakharova RUS 2:21:31
Gete Wami ETH 2:21:34
Mara Yamauchi GBR 2:25:03
Martha Komu KEN 2:25:33
Inga Abitova RUS 2:33:55
Kate O’Neill USA 2:34:04
Liliya Shobukova RUS Debut
Jo Pavey GBR Debut