LONDON MARATHON defending champion Sammy Wanjiru is set to beat the volcanic ash flight trouble, after organisers arranged to bring him and his Kenyan colleagues to town by private plane.

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“I am about to start my journey by road to Nairobi where we shall be airlifted to Spain and await further instructions,” Wanjiru told Reuters news agency this morning.

“My agent has indicated to me that another jet will pick us in Spain.”

Organisers say they are determined to get as many high-end runners lined up for Sunday’s race as they can.

“We are looking at all alternatives to ensure that we get all our elite athletes into London,” read an official statement.

The news today that a second cloud of ash has emerged from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano could scupper the private plane plan, though weather experts say a change of wind direction is due in the next 48 hours, which would shift any nasty stuff away from the UK.

Wanjiru will be joined on the flight by a group of fellow runners that reads like a who’s who of Kenyan long-distance talent. They include Duncan Kibet, Emmanuel Mutai and world marathon champion Abel Kirui.

The Marathon rescue mission is also scheduled to pick up athletes from Ethiopia and Eritrea when the plane stops off in Djibouti.