The London Marathon has once again produced a stellar lineup for Sunday’s race. In the wake of the Nike Breaking 2 project and many impressive individual results since last year’s marathon, this Sunday’s race has a chance at being record breaking in both the men’s and women’s competitions.
The race gets underway at 4:15am ET for the women, and a slightly more manageable 5am ET for the men. Here’s who to watch in this weekend’s event.
Returning this year is the 2017 champion Daniel Wanjiru of Kenya. The 24-year old ran a stunning race last year to upset Kenesia Bekele of Ethiopia who had been the favourite to win. Wanjiru has a personal best of 2:05.21 and will be one to watch as he returns to London to defend his title.
Kenesia Bekele comes into this weekend with the fastest personal best of the field at 2:03.03. Bekele is the 2016 Berlin champion and a member of the prominent NN running team. Bekele’s personal best is just shy of the World Record, 2:02.57, which himself (among other competitors) will attempt to take down.
Also of the NN running team are Abel Kirui and Eliud Kipchoge. Abel is known for his 2009 and 2011 Marathon World Championship wins, as well as his 2012 Olympic silver medal. Kirui comes in with a personal best of 2:05.04. Teammate Kipchoge is well known for his valiant ‘Breaking 2’ attempt, where he finished in 2:00.25 last May. This Nike project brought together some of the world’s best marathoners to attempt to break the elusive 2 hour barrier. Kipchoge has a personal best of 2:03.05 and is the 2016 Olympic champion.
Running a very beautiful race is what I have on my mind.
— Eliud Kipchoge (@EliudKipchoge) April 18, 2018
Rounding out the men’s field is Mo Farah. In front of a hometown crowd, Farah is giving the marathon another go. Having had extreme success in the 5 000m and 10 000m on the track, Farah will race above his typical distance this weekend. Farah hopes to break the British National Record. Despite significantly less experience in the marathon than other elites, Farah has still clocked a 2:08.21 personal best which is likely to improve on Sunday.
Last year’s winner and Women’s World Record holder Mary Keitany of Kenya is returning to London to defend her title. The three-time London champion is a strong contender, however, Keitany is not the only woman coming into this race with a personal best under 2:18.00. Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia is both the Olympic and World Champion over 5 000m and 10 000m. Dibaba ran a huge personal best of 2:17.56 in this race last year. Coming off last year’s incredible race, both women will be ready of compete against each other again, and challenge Keitany’s current record.
— Tirunesh Dibaba (@tirudibaba) January 26, 2018
Gladys Cherone of Kenya, last year’s Berlin Marathon champion comes into the weekend with a personal best of 2:19:25. Cherone set her personal best in back in 2015, and is looking to dip under the 2:20:00 mark again in London. Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia is also competing this weekend. She is the 2015 Marathon World Champion, and with a personal best of 2:19:52 rounds out the field of women who have already broken the 2:20:00 barrier.
Leading the British women this weekend is Tracy Barlow. Barlow has a personal best of 2:30:42. While this personal best is not quite as strong as some of her fellow elite competitors, Barlow has made enormous improvements over the past few years. Barlow ran this marathon in 2014 and finished in 2:54:13. Coming off a strong training block, and with hometown support, Barlow is ready for an impressive showing.