Everything you need to know about the 2019 London Marathon
When is the London Marathon?
The 2019 London Marathon takes place on Sunday 28 April.
It is the 39th edition of the race and the third of this year's six World Marathon Majors.
More than 40,000 runners are expected to tackle the grueling 26.2-mile (42.2km) course beginning at Blackheath south of the River Thames and finishing on The Mall near Buckingham Palace.
Kipchoge the man to beat
Eliud Kipchoge is the undisputed king of the road.
But he made his name on the track when some of his rivals were barely out of nappies.
The same three were on the podium at Athens 2004, but it was El Guerrouj who took gold from Bekele with Kipchoge having to settle for bronze.
That turned out to be the Moroccan great's last race.
Kipchoge and Bekele were back four years later, and it was the Ethiopian who sprinted clear on the final lap to complete his long-distance double in Beijing and secure his third Olympic title.
Bekele completes distance double at Beijing 2008
Bekele completes distance double at Beijing 2008Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele beats Kenyan pair Eliud Kipchoge and Edwin Cheruiyot Soi in the 5000m to claim his third Olympic gold.
Kipchoge continued to win races on the Grand Prix circuit, but his failure to qualify for London 2012 saw him quit the track for the marathon.
And he's barely looked back since.
He made his marathon debut in Hamburg in April 2013, taking victory in a world-class time of 2:05:30.
Six months later, he was beaten by London 2012 bronze medallist Wilson Kipsang in Berlin with his fellow Kenyan running what was then a new world record.
That was Kipchoge's last marathon defeat.
He has now won 10 out of 11 competitive marathons, plus the Nike Breaking2 race at the Monza F1 racetrack in Italy.
And the greatest of those successes came at Rio 2016 where he defied the weather to claim that elusive Olympic gold.
Kipchoge takes first Olympic gold in the Rio rain
Kipchoge takes first Olympic gold in the Rio rainEliud Kipchoge of Kenya left the rest of the field in his wake to win the Olympic men's marathon on a rainy Rio day.
Last year, Kipchoge underlined his status as the greatest marathon runner in history.
In unseasonably warm conditions, he claimed his third London Marathon title in 2:04:17, just over a minute outside his course record set in 2016.
And then in Berlin on 16 September 2018, Kipchoge smashed the world record.
His time of 2:01:39 was a massive one minute and 18 seconds inside the previous best set by another Kenyan, Dennis Kimetto, on the same course four years earlier.
Speaking to Olympic Channel after that breathtaking performance, he said he was hoping to break the two-hour barrier "very soon".
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EXCLUSIVE: Kipchoge aiming to break marathon world record again 'very soon'After smashing the world record, the Olympic champion tells us he's confident of becoming the first human to break the marathon 2-hour mark.
Can anyone stop him claiming a record fourth triumph in London?
Make or break for Farah
For four-time Olympic track gold medallist Mo Farah, this race will be crucial in deciding his future in athletics.
After a couple of flirtations with the marathon, the Somali-born star made a permanent switch after claiming his sixth gold at the World Championships in London 2017.
He broke the British record in taking third behind Kipchoge at last year's London Marathon, before winning October's Chicago Marathon in a new European record of 2:05:11.
But Farah has long stated that he would only take part in the Tokyo 2020 marathon if he felt he could win a medal.
And after retaining his Big Half half-marathon title on London's streets in March, he told the BBC that he was seriously tempted to defend his world 10,000m crown in Doha later this year.
Kipchoge is clearly his main rival again in London this time, and the 36-year-old is under no illusions as to the size of the task facing him.
"To be honest, he's so far ahead of everyone else, but we'll see in London." - Mo Farah on Eliud Kipchoge
Farah has been training in Ethiopia right up until race week, and he's raring to go.
Kipsang bids for third win
Former world record holder Wilson Kipsang, winner in 2012 and 2014, races again in London this year.
But the 37-year-old will need to improve on recent showings to challenge on Sunday.
Kipsang was third behind Kipchoge's world record run in Berlin, almost five minutes adrift of his fellow Kenyan.
Last year's runner-up Shura Kitata also returns to the British capital.
The Ethiopian set a new personal best of 2:04:49 in London 12 months ago.
He was also second in last November's New York Marathon behind compatriot Lelisa Desisa.
Another Kenyan former winner, Daniel Wanjiru, also lines up although he has struggled to rediscover the form which landed him victory in 2017.
Half-marathon world record holder Abraham Kiptum was due to take part, but was provisionally suspended just days before the race, pending an anti-doping investigation.
Keitany v Cheruiyot - the London decider
This could be the third and final meeting between Mary Keitany and Vivian Cheruiyot on the streets of London.
In 2017, Keitany blitzed the field to claim her third London Marathon victory win in a new women-only world record of 2:17:01 with Cheruiyot a creditable fourth on her first attempt at the distance.
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But last year, Rio 2016 5000m gold medallist Cheruiyot backed up her 2017 Frankfurt Marathon success with a resounding win in London from compatriot Brigid Kosgei.
Keitany was only fifth 12 months ago, but showed she has lost none of her ability as she took her fourth triumph in New York City last October in a time just 17 seconds outside the course record.
Cheruiyot was second that day, and the pair are one-apiece in the British capital going into Sunday's clash.
Speaking to Kenya's Citizen Digital this week, Cheruiyot said she would do her best to beat her friend and rival.
"In athletics we are also friends, only that if I win then that is my time. And if Mary wins it’s her time because this is sports.
"I don’t know what my competitors are planning. Maybe they want to break the world record. But for me, I hope to run a good race." - Defending London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot
Kosgei is back to try and go one better than last year with Berlin Marathon champion Gladys Cherono, fourth in London in 2018, also in the mix.
Kenyans dominate the women's field with three-time Olympic track gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba, runner-up to Keitany in 2017, announcing her absence last week.
Weir bids for ninth wheelchair triumph
Britain's David Weir will line up in his 20th consecutive London Marathon on Sunday.
The 39-year-old six-time Paralympic champion claimed his eighth victory in the race last year.
That came after he bounced back from a year-long bout of depression which started ahead of Rio 2016.
Weir opened up about his struggles and his recovery on the Olympic Channel podcast late last year.
Podcast: Paralympic champ David Weir on disability, crying, and counselling
Podcast: Paralympic champ David Weir on disability, crying, and counsellingBritish Paralympian David Weir has won more London Marathons than anyone on the planet. But despite his success, he had never come to terms with his disability. He was born with a spinal cord transection that left him unable to use his legs. Frustrated by his lack of options in the sporting world, he went on to excel at wheelchair racing in the T54 category. Even after winning six Paralympic gold medals, by the time he won his record-breaking seventh London Marathon in 2017, he felt no joy. Weir had to face up to inner turmoil he had been burying since childhood. “I never showed my emotions to my family. I never spoke to my mum and dad about my disability... I just bottled things up for years and years and years.” The 39-year-old opened up about why he wants to represent Great Britain at Tokyo 2020, the highs of London 2012, and his life-changing counselling sessions.
He has his work cut out retaining his title after finishing third in Boston earlier this month behind 20-year-old Daniel Romanchuk.
The American was third in London 12 months ago with Switzerland's Marcel Hug, a double gold medallist in Rio, splitting the pair on both occasions.
Australia's Madison de Rozario took a surprise win in last year's women's race ahead of four-time winner Tatyana McFadden.
They both line up in London again, but in-form Manuela Schaer is back to try and regain the title she won in 2017.
Swiss athlete Schaer holds the course record in London and beat McFadden by seven minutes earlier this month in Boston with de Rozario just behind in third.
But 25-year-old de Rozario, a three-time Paralympic silver medallist with her first coming at Beijing 2008 aged 14, will be determined to retain her crown.
How to watch
You can watch the London Marathon live on Olympic Channel if you are in the following territories:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Republic of South Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, South Sudan and Yemen.
For those living elsewhere, please check local listings.
Start times (all British Summer Time):
09:05 - Elite Wheelchair Races
09:10 - World Para Athletics Marathon Championships Ambulant Athletes
09:25 - Elite Women's Race
10:10 - Elite Men's Race and Mass Race