The only world major marathon of 2020 might be the most top-heavy one in history. Forty-five men and 28 women will race on a flat two-kilometre loop around St. James Park, which will be enclosed in a secure biosphere.
Alex Cyr, Andrew Cruickshank and Michael Doyle break down this extraordinary elite field and how the highly unusual circumstances will affect performances.
The race will feature a battle between the running world’s top two (figurative) heavyweights: Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele.
The pair have raced each other in the marathon four times, with Kipchoge coming away with the win each time. But they have not raced since Bekele won in Berlin last year in 2:01:41 - just two seconds shy of Kipchoge’s world record of 2:01:39.
Although the Kipper vs. Kenny battle is sure to grab headlines, several other world-class athletes will be in attendance.
Eight men who have run faster than 2:05 will be racing, including fourth fastest marathoner in history Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia.
Brigid Kosgei of Kenya plans to beat her own world record of 2:14:04. Five women who have run under 2:20, including defending marathon world champion Ruth Chepn’getich, and will wrestle her for the title.
Oh, and Sir Mo Farah, the four-time Olympic champion on the track, is going to provide pacing duties for athletes seeking that all important 2:11:29 Olympic qualifying standard.
We also briefly touch upon the second Diamond League race of the year, in Stockholm.