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Kenya looks for another sweep in London Marathon

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London, England (My Sportsbook) - If the recent Boston Marathon is any indication, look for Kenya to dominate Sunday's London Marathon.

The top three finishers for both the men and women in this past Monday's race were all from Kenya, including the respective winners, Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop. Korir, a two-time Los Angles Marathon winner, proved best by 26 seconds over Levy Matebo, while Cherop bested Jemima Sumgong by only two seconds on the sultry day in Boston.

The London Marathon also has been a paradise for Kenya as four different runners have won the race between 2004 and 2009, with Martin Lel garnering three victories, including back-to-back scores beginning in 2007. The Kenya run was snapped in 2010 when Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede crushed Emmanuel Mutai by over a full minute. However, Mutai gained revenge for Kenya by taking last year's race in a course-record time of 2:04:40. Lel finished second, 65 seconds off the pace.

Only two runners have won consecutive London Marathons in the 31 years the race has been run. The previously mentioned Martin Lel as well as Dionicio Ceron of Mexico, who strolled to victory three years in a row between 1994 and 1996. Given the lack of back-to-back victories, it might be difficult for Mutai to retain his title.

Unlike the Boston Marathon, where tight finishes have been the norm for the women, the female London marathoners has witnessed easy triumphs, including Mary Keitany's 56-second victory over Russia's Liliya Shobukhova in last year's running.

Surprisingly, it was the first time since 2004 (when Kenya's Evans Rutto and Margaret Okayo finished first) that the men's and women's winner were both from the same country. The only other time it occurred was all the way back in 1982 (the second year of the event) when the United Kingdom's Hugh Jones and Joyce Smith crossed the finish line ahead of their competitors.

Winning back-to-back London Marathons has not been a problem for the women as compared to the men since they have accomplished the task seven times, with Germany's Katrin Dorre-Heinig doing it twice in a three-year span in the early 1990s. Irini Mikitenko, also from Germany, was the last to win consecutive races when she prevailed in both 2008 and 2009.

Shobukhova has been the star of the women's circuit in London in recent years with a third-place finish in 2009, followed by a win in 2010, and then a runner-up spot to Keitany a year ago, but a woman to watch out for is Kenya's Edna Kiplagat. She ran third in last year's race after taking the top spot in both the 2010 Los Angeles and New York marathons.

The marathoners who raced in Boston should enjoy the cooler temperatures in London. However, rain showers are expected throughout the weekend, which undoubtedly will affect the performances of some of the runners.

April 18, 2012, at 03:20 PM ET
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