Martin Lel's hopes of making London Marathon history have been hit by injury for the second year in a row.

The Kenyan, who won the race in 2005, 2007 and 2008, has been forced to pull out of this year's Virgin London Marathon with an injury to his right leg.

The 31-year-old was one of the favourites for the 2010 title on Sunday 25th April when victory would have made him the first man ever to win four London Marathon titles.

The injury is the latest in a series of blows to the 2007/08 World Marathon Majors champion. Lel withdrew from the 2009 London Marathon at the last moment with a right hip injury, and was also forced to miss both the IAAF World Championships in Berlin last August and November's New York Marathon.

Virgin London Marathon Race Director Dave Bedford said: "It is very disappointing to lose Martin for the second year in a row. He is one of the greatest marathon runners in the world and one of our great champions. We look forward to welcoming him back next year."

Despite Lel's absence, the men's elite field still boasts some of the best marathon runners in the world, including the reigning London and Olympic champion Sammy Wanjiru, the world champion Abel Kirui, and the world half marathon record holder Zersenay Tadese.