Similar to Monday’s Boston Marathon, the London Marathon and its elite athletes are being affected by the travel restrictions over much of Europe due to volcanic ash eruption in Iceland last week. Olympic marathon gold medalist and Chicago Marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru will join other top Kenyan and Ethiopian runners on a specially arranged airlift to the 2010 London Marathon on Sunday, April 25.
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The 24 year old Wanjiru looks to defend his London Marathon title this year after first traveling by road to Nairobi and then being airlifted to Spain where he and his fellow competitors will then catch a flight to London. The crew of Kenyans will be joined by Ethiopian and Eritrean runners on the special flight. Fatigue from travel and stress is a definite concern for these elite runners as their final flight leg has been delayed until today. The longer it takes for the athletes to arrive in London, the less time they have to get acclimated to the weather, time and course.
Sammy Wanjiru set the Olympic record and grabbed the gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, won and set the course record of 2:05:10 at the 2009 London Marathon and dominated the 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon with a course record of 2:05:41. He enters the 2010 London Marathon as the favorite after injury took three-time London Marathon winner Martin Lel of Kenya out of the race. Kenyans Emmanuel Mutai (the silver medalist in the 2009 world athletics championships), Abel Kirui (the 2009 IAAF Marathon World Champion) and Duncan Kibet (the Rotterdam Marathon winner) will join Wanjiru on the flight.