LONDON (Reuters) - Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge will return to the London Marathon in 2018 after a year's absence, resuming his quest for a third victory in the event, organizers said on Thursday.
The 33-year-old Kenyan won the 2015 race and finished eight seconds outside Dennis Kimetto's world record time of 2:02:57 to triumph again 12 months later, but he did not defend his title this year after focusing on the Nike Breaking2 project.
The former 5,000 meters world champion's official best marathon time of 2:03:05 set in London in 2016 is the fourth-fastest in history. He came close to the world record again in Berlin this year, clocking 2:03:32 in damp conditions. [nL4N1M506X]
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"I feel like I'm in good form," Kipchoge said in a statement. "Berlin was difficult because the weather was not good but my time showed I was in the right shape. As ever with marathon running, everything needs to come right on the day.
"The competition is always tough in London so I must wait and see how well I train and what the weather will be. I know that I have the world record in me so we will have to wait and see what happens."
Kipchoge ran the quickest recorded marathon at the Nike event in Monza in May, finishing in 2:00:25, though that time is not an official world record due to aspects of the event not satisfying IAAF criteria. [nL4N1I803T]
The Kenyan joins fellow Olympic champion Mo Farah of Britain in confirming his intention to run the London Marathon on April 22.
"I came so close to breaking the world record in 2016 and it is natural for anyone in that situation to think of what might have been," Kipchoge added.
"But that race gave me the confidence to go on and win the Olympic title in Rio and run so well throughout 2017."
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)