By John Kwoba
NAIROBI, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan marathon runners departed for London buoyant of staging an excellent show during the Sunday race.
The race comes on the backdrop of twin bomb blasts at the finish line of the Boston marathon on Monday, but London defending champion Wilson Kipsang is not worried about his safety as he prepares for the biggest race this year.
"When you are running and you are thinking something like that can happen, you can't concentrate. We should have no fear during the race because security matters will be put in place and we will run feeling free," said Kipsang.
Kipsang said athletes should not be nervous just six days after bombs along the course of the Boston marathon killed three people.
The Olympic marathon bronze medallists has unfinished business in London. He ran there twice in 2012. He won the London City marathon and later lost out to Uganda Stephen Kiprotich and Abel Kirui (Kenya) at the Olympics.
But he is ready to turn around the fortune and reaffirm his prowess as the best in the field that also has world marathon record holder Patrick Makau, Berlin marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai, Martin Lel, a two time London marathon champion,
The 2013 London marathon men's line-up features 11 men who've completed the marathon distance quicker than two hours six minutes, including six of the 10 fastest men of all-time, and four of the five quickest ever over the London course.
Among them are all three medallists from the London 2012 Olympic Games, two medallists from the last world championships, three world marathon Majors champions, and winners of 2012 marathons in Berlin, Chicago, Frankfurt and Dubai.
Top of the tree are the two quickest men of all time -- world record holder Patrick Makau, who dropped out last year, and defending champion Kipsang, who is also the Olympic bronze medallist.
Kipsang will also face the two men who beat him in the final stages of the London 2012 Olympic race -- Uganda's surprise champion Stephen Kiprotich while double world champion Abel Kirui, who is yet to make the London podium, will wait another year as he has pulled out with a right leg muscle strain injury.
Also to note veteran Emmanuel Mutai, Geoffrey Mutai, Tsegaye Kebede, Ayele Abshero, Feyisa Lilesa, Deressa Chimsa, Adil Anani and Hafid Chani. European hopes rest with Poland's Marcin Chabowski, Ayad Lamdassem and the experienced Portuguese runner Rui Silva, who is making his marathon debut.
There will be much for British fans to cheer, too, thanks to the presence of Mo Farah, the double Olympic champion who is running as a guest to half way with the elite field as part of his preparations for a full marathon debut in 2014.
Organizers confirmed they would be laying on pacemakers to reach 20 miles at 2:03:30 pace at the request of the elite athletes.
Kipsang also said as The Telegraph writes that the presence of Mo Farah who will run the half marathon could help in achieving the world record pace.
While the focus on the men race is on speed, world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat will be keen to use the race in London as gauge ahead of her title defence in Moscow, Russia in August during the world Athletics championships.
Kiplagat will also have another training mate Florence Kiplagat, the Berlin marathon champion, and Priscah Jeptoo, the Olympic silver medallist over the 42km distance. Lucy Kabuu, the fifth finisher in London in 2012, has also pulled out with an injury.
But then there is a new array on display as the Kenyan production line in marathon balloons. Kenyan African Cross Country champion from 2012 Joyce Chepkirui is the most interesting debutant at the distance on Sunday at the London marathon.
She will have the number 24 shirt. Her best half-marathon time is 67:03 from last year win in Prague. She showed top shape when winning end of February the San Juan 10 km on the road with fast 31:40.