(Reuters) - Vivian Cheruiyot believes she will need to produce her "very best" to defend her London Marathon title in April as she heads a star-studded lineup, which includes winners of the last four majors.
Cheruiyot will be joined by fellow Kenyans Gladys Cherono, Brigid Kosgei and Mary Keitany, who top the Abbott World Marathon Majors Series XII rankings with 25 points apiece from their wins in Berlin, Chicago and New York respectively.
Cheruiyot clocked two hours, 18 minutes and 31 seconds to seal her London triumph last year ahead of three-time winner and race favourite Keitany, who finished fifth.
"It was a great moment for me winning last year's Virgin Money London Marathon and I am very much looking forward to returning in April," Cheruiyot said in a statement.
"The line-up for this year's race is, once again, incredibly strong so I know I will need to be at my very best to repeat last year's victory but it is a challenge that I'm really looking forward to. I will be ready."
The organisers also confirmed the participation of Ethiopian trio Tirunesh Dibaba, Tadelech Bekele and Roza Dereje.
Dereje and Cheruiyot are on 16 points apiece in the World Series standings following their second place finishes in Chicago and New York respectively.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)