Keitany leads Kenyan quartet for London Marathon

LONDON Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:00pm GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Defending women's champion Mary Keitany will lead a Kenyan quartet in the London marathon next April, organisers said on Monday.

The event comes just three months before the London Olympics.

Keitany, 30, set a world half marathon record this year but faces tough opponents in compatriots Edna Kiplagat, Priscah Jeptoo and Florence Kiplagat.

World champion Edna Kiplagat, was third in London this year after winning in New York in 2010. Jeptoo was Paris champion while Florence Kiplagat won in Berlin in September.

Non-Kenyan entrants in the women's event include Germany's Irina Mikitenko, Olympic champion Constantina Dita of Romania and six leading Ethiopians.

"This has to be one of the most talented women's fields we've ever had and with numerous Olympic places up for grabs I'm sure we'll see a fantastic race," said race director Dave Bedford in a statement.

The battle for the one remaining British women's marathon place will also be intriguing after world record holder Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi secured the other two.

"With the Olympic Games in London just a few months later the incentive for British marathon runners couldn't be greater," said Bedford.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Alison Wildey)

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