Kenenisa Bekele has today announced that he will run the Paris Marathon on the 6th April 2014, rather than the Virgin Money London Marathon a week later, where many speculated he would make his marathon debut against his track rival, Mo Farah.
In a press release by the Paris marathon event organisers, it stated that the triple Olympic and five–times World Champion would make his debut over the marathon distance on the streets of the French capital.
There has been wide speculation since the two competed at the Great North Run in 2013, where Bekele narrowly edged out Farah in a sprint finish, that the two would race again on British soil in April this year over the marathon distance.
However, the news is not too much of a surprise to the running community. In an interview by BBC London with David Bedford on Monday, who is involved in assembling the elite fields for the London marathon, he stated that it was ‘unlikely’ that Bekele would race in London against Farah.
Despite this news, the London marathon will still be a widely anticipated event, particularly with the debut of Mo Farah. It is rumoured that he will face the current world record holder, Wilson Kipsang, the current Olympic champion, Stephen Kiprotich, and the current world champion, Abel Kirui. However, full details of this field will be released at a later date.
Bekele’s absence from London is somewhat disappointing for athletics fans in one regard, however, it will be interesting to see how both athletes perform, injury permitting, over the marathon distance for the first time.