London: Kenya's women's marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei is to join her compatriot Eliud Kipchoge in defending their respective London Marathon titles on April 26, organisers announced on Monday.
The 25-year-old, who set a new world record of 2hr 14min 04sec in Chicago last October to smash Briton Paul Radcliffe's old mark by more than a minute, will face a daunting challenge from a host of compatriots in defending her crown.
The 2018 London Marathon winner Vivian Cheruiyot, three-time Berlin Marathon champion Gladys Cherono, current world champion Ruth Chepngetich and Joyciline Jepkosgei, the 2019 New York City Marathon champion are all slated to compete.
"Last year was an incredible year for me and it started by winning in London," said Kosgei in a statement issued by the organisers.
"Coming back will be very special and I hope it can be the start of another memorable year."
Spencer Barden, head of elite athletes at the London Marathon, said he was anticipating a cracking race.
"Brigid's run at the Chicago Marathon was one of the most remarkable athletic performances of recent years," he said.
"Paula Radcliffe's world record had stood for so long and was one of the great markers in modern athletics so for Brigid to beat it and beat it so comprehensively was incredible.
"There are plenty of other fantastic athletes in the field including the 2018 London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot and the world champion Ruth Chepngetich.
"To have five women who have run sub-2:19 and the New York City Marathon champion on top of that illustrates the amazing depth we will have.
"This is a field that is truly fitting for our 40th race."
It was announced in December that men's marathon world record holder Kipchoge would also be returning.
Kipchoge, 35, will learn who his main rivals will be on Tuesday when the elite male athletes are revealed.