Five men’s champions line up for London

The Flora London Marathon announced this news on December 10:

An elite force of the last five men's champions will return for the Flora London Marathon, on April 17, 2005.

A quarter of a century on from the first London Marathon in 1981, current champion Evans Rutto (KEN) 2004, Gezahegne Abera (ETH) 2003, Khalid Khannouchi (USA) 2002, Abdelkader El Mouaziz (MAR) 2001 and Antonio Pinto (POR) 2000 lead the celebrations.

"There could not be a better way to mark this historic day," said Race Director David Bedford. "It's a special time for us and I am happy that these former champions have seen fit to join us. This is another great line-up but there is much more to come."

Abera was the first man to hold Olympic and World titles (2000/2001) simultaneously, Khannouchi set a World record in London 2002 of 2:05:38 and Pinto co-holds the European record of 2:06:36 from 2000. Pinto has won the race three times and El Mouaziz twice. Rutto is the World's fastest debutant with 2:05:50.

Apart from Khannouchi's men's World record, there have been five women's World records at the London Marathon, culminating in Paula Radcliffe's mixed race 2:15:25 in 2003. Radcliffe also owns the women's only record of 2:18:56 from 2002.