Triple Olympic track champion Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest marathon runner in history, will make another attempt at claiming the world record over the classic 26.2 mile distance in April.
The Ethiopian Bekele, widely regarded as the greatest distance runner of all time, will make the attempt when he leads a stellar field for the London marathon.
The world record holder over 10,000 and 5,000 metres ran two hours, three minutes and three seconds when winning the Berlin event last September.
Having been left out of the Ethiopian team for the Rio Olympics a month earlier it was a clear message from Bekele that he had mastered the marathon.
The 34-year-old, with five track world titles to his name over 10,000m and 5,000m, finished third in London last year behind Kenyan duo Eliud Kipchoge and Stanley Biwott.
Now, Kipchoge’s course record of 2:03:05 and Kimetto’s world mark will both be in his sights.
“London is the greatest marathon in the world and I will love to win there,’’ Bekele said in a statement issued by race organisers revealing the line-up on Monday.
“The field is always the best and victory means so much. After finishing third last year, I know what I need to do to win.’’
Biwott, who won the 2015 New York City Marathon, is likely to be Bekele’s main rival as he leads the Kenyan challenge in the absence of two-time champion Kipchoge.
Biwott finished runner-up in 2014, fourth in 2015 and second again last year in a personal best of 2:03:51.
The leading pair represents two of seven in the field who have run under 2:06.
The race will also feature two marathon world champions, and three of the top five finishers from last summer’s Olympics.
It will also have the winners of the Abbott World Marathon Majors races in Tokyo, Berlin, Chicago and New York in 2016.