Kipchoge holds the official world marathon record of 2:01:39 with Bekele coming second only two seconds shy. Kipchoge also holds the unofficial record of 1:59:40 after breaking the two-hour barrier in Vienna, Austria on October 12, 2019.
Kipchoge rallied the world to support the two athletes and other elites in the historic UK race, which will be the first-ever marathon to be held after the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.
“Although itâ€™s a sad day for the London Marathon and all of the runners who normally run the race together with me, I am happy to be coming back to London for the 40th race. You may not be running with me or cheering me on from the streets, but in our minds, we run together,” Kipchoge tweeted on Friday, August 7.
The race was postponed from April 2020 and under the new guidelines, will not feature a mass race; it will be an elite-only event.
Athletes will race on an enclosed looped course in St Jamesâ€™s Park, the football stadium for Newcastle United.
Bekele vowed to beat Kipchoge’s record and trounce him in the race, adding that he was motivated by his Ineos 1:59 challenge.
“He motivated me when he ran under two hours. Competing against each other will spur us to do better. I believe in myself,” Bekele stated.
Kipchoge has won all four races against Bekele. However, the Ethiopian has the better head-to-head record across all distances and surfaces.
Kenya’s world record-holder Brigid Kosgei will also be competing in the women’s event. The eight-hour event will be televised live.
Watch Kipchoge shutter the Ineos 1:59 challenge