Britain's Paula Radcliffe will return to the London marathon after a three-year absence in a bid to win the race for the fourth time – against one of the strongest fields the event has seen.
|Radcliffe won the NY Marathon in November [EPA]
The world record holder will face champion Irina Mikitenko of Germany and five of the first six finishers in Beijing, including all three Olympic medallists.
Also running will be two former London winners and two World Marathon Majors champions on the April 26 race.
Radcliffe, champion in 2002, 2003 and 2005 having set world records on each occasion, is bidding to match Norway's Ingrid Kristiansen, who won the race four times between 1984 and 1988.
"I've missed the last three years through injuries and it was frustrating not to be fully fit for the Olympic Games this summer," said Radcliffe, who fought back from a stress fracture in her thigh bone to finish only 23rd in Beijing.
"But after my victory in New York last month I'm hungry to win back my Flora London Marathon title and join Ingrid in the record books."
Mikitenko also won the Berlin Marathon in September and last month was crowned the 2007/08 World Marathon Majors champion, a title awarded for consistency in the season's premier marathons.
Romania's 38-year-old Olympic champion Constantina Dita returns to London for the eighth time, seeking her first win.
World champion and Olympic silver medallist Catherine Ndereba of Kenya, China's Zhou Chunxiu, the Olympic bronze medallist and 2007 London champion, and Ethiopia's Gete Wami, second in London two years ago and the inaugural World Marathon Majors champion, are also among a stellar field.