21 Apr 2010

Private plane to take in London marathon runners

6:14 am on 21 April 2010

The Olympic gold medallist Sammy Wanjiru is set to defend his London Marathon title after a private plane was arranged to help him beat travel disruption.

The 24-year-old will fly with several other Kenyan competitors whose plans for Sunday's race have changed after planes were grounded by volcanic ash.

World marathon champion Abel Kirui, Duncan Kibet, who set the third-fastest time in history in last year's Rotterdam Marathon, and Emmanuel Mutai are expected to accompany Wanjiru.

The Kenyan party is likely to be joined by runners from Ethiopia and Eritrea during a stopover in Djibouti.

Defending women's champion Irina Mikitenko will travel via rail from her home in central Germany.

Marathon organisers are also monitoring the air pollution levels in London for any change caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland.

Analysis of the dust material over the weekend indicated that it does not contain material that is seriously harmful to health.

The New Zealander Kim Smith is also scheduled to run the London marathon.