The defending champion Vivian Cheruiyot and the current TCS New York City Marathon champion Mary Keitany return to the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2019.
They join their compatriots Gladys Cherono (2018 BMW Berlin Marathon champion) and Brigid Kosgei (2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion) meaning the winners of the last four Abbott World Marathon Majors will be on the Start Line in London on Sunday 28 April.
Cheruiyot, who is also the reigning Olympic 5000m champion and the runner-up behind Keitany at last November’s TCS New York City Marathon, said: "It was a great moment for me winning last year’s Virgin Money London Marathon and I am very much looking forward to returning in April.
“The line-up for this year’s race is, once again, incredibly strong so I know I will need to be at my very best to repeat last year’s victory but it is a challenge that I’m really looking forward to. I will be ready.”
Also confirmed to run are the Ethiopian trio of Tirunesh Dibaba, the three-time Olympic champion on the track and third fastest woman of all time, who finished second in London and won Chicago in 2017, Tadelech Bekele, who finished third in London last year and 21 year old Roza Dereje, second in Chicago and winner of the Dubai Marathon in 2018.
Cherono, Kosgei and Keitany top the current Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII rankings with 25 points apiece from their wins in Berlin, Chicago and New York. Dereje and Cheruiyot are on 16 points apiece following their second places in Chicago and New York respectively. The Series XII title could be decided in London.
The Abbott World Marathon Majors series adds up points for the best finishes in the world’s six best marathons. Series XII started at the 2018 BMW Berlin Marathon and will finish at the same race in 2019, taking in the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, 2019 Tokyo Marathon, 2019 Boston Marathon and the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.
Hugh Brasher, Event Director, said: “This is a truly amazing women’s field which features the five best women marathon runners in the world last year. The stage is set for a fascinating race on Sunday 28 April. I can’t wait.”