There will be no easy ride for double Olympic champion Mo Farah when he makes his marathon debut in his home city this April. Organisers behind the Virgin London Marathon have put together a stellar line up including global champions and world record holders.
Farah will race over 26.2 miles for the first time on Sunday 13 April when he will join an elite men's field that includes marathon world-record holder Wilson Kipsang, Olympic and world marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich, reigning London Marathon champion Tsegaye Kebede, and London course record holder Emmanuel Mutai.
Farah ran the first half of the race in 2013 to assess the course and opposition in preparation for his full marathon debut this year. He went on to win the World Championships 10,000m title in Moscow last August before retaining his world 5000m crown, adding another global track double to his twin Olympic triumphs from London 2012.
The 30-year-old then ran his fastest half marathon when second in the Great North Run last September and has since been training hard for his first marathon race.
"I gained a lot of valuable experience running part of the course alongside the top guys last year and can't wait to race over the full distance this April," said Farah, who will have an eye on the long-standing UK record of two hours seven minutes 13 seconds.
"The London Marathon always attracts the world's best runners to its elite fields and this year will be no different. I am expecting it to be one of my toughest races and a real learning experience.
"I had another great year on the track in 2013, but the marathon is my main focus for this year. As a young boy growing up in London it has always been my ambition to run the London Marathon and to be able to make my marathon debut in my home town is very special."
It will be even more special if Farah can reward his British fans with victory, but the debutant will come up against an experienced field that includes three men who have run quicker than two hours four minutes and six who have broken 2:05.
Quickest of the lot is Wilson Kipsang, the Kenyan who broke the world record when he won last September's Berlin Marathon in 2:03:23. Kipsang will be keen to regain the London Marathon title he won in 2012 just a few months before claiming the bronze medal at the London Olympics.
As well as Farah, there will be further British interest with Olympic marathon runner Scott Overall and former European 10,000m silver medallist Chris Thompson confirmed. Like Farah, the latter is set to make his debut over the distance.