Geoffrey Mutai, Mo Farah, March 2014, NYC Half,
photo by Photorun.net
Justin Lagat wrote a piece to showcase all the scenarios in Virgin London Marathon this year! Now, we can not wait to see the race on Sunday!
So much to Watch in 2014 Virgin London Marathon, by Justin Lagat
Since they announced the elite fields for this year's London marathon, it has been the most anticipated road running event of all times. Finally, the long awaited event has arrived. If one will not be interested in watching out for a new world record, they will likely be watching out for the British record, or the course record; and if one is not a fan of Wilson Kipsang, one is probably a fan of Mo Farah, or Geoffrey Mutai, or Stephen Kiprotich among others. It is not easy to pin-point exactly where my interest will be while watching this event because there will be so much to watch.
First of all, it will be the next marathon race for Wilson Kipsang after he set the new world record last September Murder in Berlin. It will be interesting to watch and see if he will better his time and set another world record here, especially now that the organizers have asked the pace makers to run a world record pace up to the 30km mark. With all the measures that have been taken by the organizers, it seems like a new world record will be very likely, and a new PB for Wilson Kipsang will just translate into that.
Second, it will be interesting to watch how Mo Farah will debut in the marathon. He has been the king of the long distance running on the track in recent years and despite many suggesting that he had better stick to track running for some time, he has decided to test the marathon waters for himself. One of the records Mo will be seeking to break is the British record of 2:07:13 set by Steve Jones in 1985. It remains to be seen whether he will go out with the leading pack in the world record pace or whether he will find a different pace to go for the British record.
Third, Olympic and World Champion, Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda will be in the race. There is a general tendency of Kenyan athletes to do poorly in major championship races, but excel in the major city marathons. If Kiprotich will emerge the winner here, then he will change that tendency and believe.
Fourth, it will be interesting to watch Emmanuel Mutai, the course record holder trying to keep the record to himself or watching it being destroyed. The record is 2:04:40 which he set in 2011. Emmanuel has a lot of experience having featured on the London Marathon ever since 2008. He probably knows the course like the back of his hand and if he will be going for a new course record, he knows exactly where to adjust his pace in order to improve on his record.
Fifth, Tsegay Kebede has come out clear that he intends to win this race. He is the defending champion having won it last year in a competitive field that had gone out too hard on the earlier stages of the race leaving him to pass by them in the later stages. Tsegay is one man you should not count him out of competition when he drops from the leading pack. He has his own strong and steady pace.
Sixth, the legendary Haile Gebrselassie is set to pace a world record pace up until the 30km point. Will he still be able to do that at his age? What if he reaches that point with only one or two athletes keeping up with him? Won't he be tempted to go ahead and just set a new world master's record in London rather than wait to do it in Hamburg marathon? It will be interesting to see what happens.
Seventh, Geoffrey Mutai is yet to prove to the world, on a certified course, that he is indeed the fastest marathon runner on earth. Perhaps this will be his chance to do that. He recently beat Mo Farah at the New York half marathon, which may be an indication that he is in a good form.
Eighth, there will also be a tough competition in the women's event with Florence Kiplagat fresh from breaking a new world record in the half marathon; last year's winner, Priscah Jeptoo; 2012 Olympic champion, Tiki Gelana; world champion, Edna Kiplagat and Ethiopia's 10,000m track sensational queen, Tirunesh Dibaba debuting in the event. Priscah Jeptoo in particular will be the athlete to watch here after hinting that she may be going for a new world record.
This year's London marathon will surely be a special race not to miss!