London Marathon: David Weir to face top field

Weir wins record-equalling sixth London marathon

Defending champion David Weir will bid for a record-breaking seventh London Marathon title when he takes part in this year's race on Sunday 21 April.

The four-time London 2012 Paralympic champion recently returned to training after his successful summer.

Victory in the London Marathon would make Weir the most successful racer in the event's history and break Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson's mark of six wins.

Fellow Briton Shelly Woods will be defending her women's race title

"Winning a seventh London Marathon would be up there with all my Paralympic titles," said Weir. "I don't really want to stop when I'm equal with anyone; I'd like to be the main man, to get seven titles.

"It was my dream when I was young to win the London Marathon. It was the one race that I most wanted to win in my career. Now I've done it six times, and I never get bored of it."

Weir will again face Switzerland's Marcel Hug and Australia's Kurt Fearnley who were second and third behind him in the T54 marathon at the London Paralympics.

Also in the field are Canadian Josh Cassidy, the 2010 winner, who will also be competing in the Boston Marathon on 15 April, and nine-time Boston winner Ernst van Dyk from South Africa who finished second in London in 2000 and took third in 2009.

Woods will be facing American Shirley Reilly, who beat the Briton to gold in the Paralympic marathon, as well as Switzerland's Sandra Graf, American pair Amanda McGrory and Tatyana McFadden and Japan's Wakako Tsuchida, the 2010 winner.

An additional $35,000 in prize money is on offer this year to wheelchair athletes who compete in both the Boston and London races.

Some of the world's leading Paralympic athletics will also be competing in the IPC World Marathon Cup which will be held as part of the London Marathon for the first time. This will involve races for male athletes in classes T42-46 (amputees) and T11-13 (visual impairment).

Among them will be T42 200m London champion Richard Whitehead, who also holds world records for double amputees in the full and half marathon.

Whitehead's marathon record stands at two hours 42 minutes and 52 seconds, but he will be up against Brazil's Tino Sena who clocked 2:30:40 to win the T46 marathon gold at London 2012.

The race for visually-impaired athletes will pitch the London Paralympic T12 silver and bronze medallists, Elkin Semma of Colombia and Abderrahim Zhiou of Tunisia, against T11 athletes Yuichi Takahashi of Japan and Carlos Ferreira of Portugal.

Takahashi won marathon gold at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, while Ferreira was the Sydney champion in 2000.