Lawrence Cherono, pictured here winning the 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, will run in The Vitality Big Half on Sunday 1 March

Lawrence Cherono, one of the world’s most successful marathon runners, will take on distance running great Kenenisa Bekele at The Vitality Big Half in London on Sunday 1 March.

Cherono, who has been selected to represent Kenya at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is the reigning champion of both the Boston Marathon and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and has an incredible record of eight wins in 11 races over the 26.2 mile distance.

At The Vitality Big Half, which starts close to London’s iconic Tower Bridge and finishes at the world famous Cutty Sark in Greenwich, Cherono will provide a stern test to Bekele, the current world record holder for 5000m and 10000m and the second fastest marathon runner in history.

Both men will use the race as a crucial preparation for upcoming marathons. Bekele is working towards a mouth-watering match-up between himself and marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge on Sunday 26 April. Cherono will defend his Boston Marathon title six days earlier on Monday 20 April.

As well as Cherono and Bekele, the reigning Rotterdam Marathon champion Marius Kipserem (KEN) and a host of leading British athletes including Chris Thompson, Dewi Griffiths and Ross Millington will race in this year’s event. Sir Mo Farah, who withdrew from this year’s race due to injury, has won the previous two editions.

Cherono, 31, said: “I am really looking forward to coming to London to run in such a high-quality race as The Vitality Big Half and I’m thankful for the opportunity. It is exactly the test I was looking for as I prepare for the Boston Marathon and I am sure it will be a great race.”