Mary Keitany (L) and Vivian Cheruiyot (R) are ready to face off again in London. (Photo: AFP)
London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot has confirmed she will renew her rivalry with fellow Kenyan Mary Keitany in this year's race.
Cheruiyot was the surprise winner last year when she out-paced hot favourite Keitany to take the title for the first time.
The 35-year-old is also the reigning Olympic 5000m champion, but she finished as runner-up behind Keitany at November's New York City Marathon.
Keitany, a three-time London champion, came a disappointing fifth in London last year after wilting in the intense heat.
But Cheruiyot, an inspector in Kenya's police force, knows her rival is likely to provide a sterner examination when they return to the streets of the British capital on April 28.
"It was a great moment for me winning last year's London Marathon and I am very much looking forward to returning in April," Cheruiyot said on Friday.
The two leading contenders are joined by their compatriots Gladys Cherono, who won the 2018 Berlin Marathon, and Brigid Kosgei, who won the Chicago Marathon last year.
That means the winners of the past four World Marathon Majors will be on the start line in London.
Also confirmed to run are the Ethiopian trio of Tirunesh Dibaba, Tadelech Bekele and Roza Dereje, the winner of the 2018 Dubai Marathon.
Cherono, Kosgei and Keitany top the current World Marathon Majors series rankings with 25 points apiece from their wins in Berlin, Chicago and New York.