VIRGIN MONEY LONDON MARATHON
Sunday, April 22 | 9:15am local (4:15am EST)
Steph comes into the London Marathon coming off a string of good races going all the way back to the TCS New York City Marathon last fall. She was tenth in NYC, then finished third at the NYRR Midnight Run on New Year’s Eve, first at the RnR AZ Half Marathon, third at the USATF Cross Country Championships and second at the Publix Gasparillla Half Marathon. She has not been shy about admitting that her marathon PB (2:29:35 from the 2011 Chevron Houston Marathon) needs an update and it would seem the flat, fast course in London would be the place to do it. She would also like to notch her second straight top-10 finish at a World Marathon Major.
THE COURSE: London is undoubtedly one of the fastest courses in the world. Paula Radcliffe set her still-standing 2:15:25 world record on it back in 2003 (more on that below), one year after Khalid Khannouchi ran 2:05:38 to set the then men’s record. COURSE MAP
THE WEATHER: The current forecast calls for above normal temps in the low 60s at the start and the high 60s at the finish. Winds are expected to be in the 9-10 mph range.
WOMENS FIELD: The big story is three-time London champion Mary Keitany taking a swing at Paula Radcliffe’s 15-year-old world record. With the help of male pacemakers, she and her camp have said that the record is her goal. The question becomes if anyone else will go with her. The top eight seeds have all run under 2:23:00 so a historically deep race is possible. Steph is the 10th seed with her 2:29:35 PB.
MENS FIELD: The storyline on the men’s side is the head-to-head-to-head battle between three of the biggest names in distance running history. Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, currently the best marathoner in the world, will take on two of the most decorated 5k/10k runners of all-time–Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele and hometown favorite Mo Farah (Great Britain). For you marathon history buffs it has the feel of the 2002 race where Khalid Khannouchi, Haile Gebrselassie and Paul Tergat waged a three-way battle with Khannouchi, the pure marathoner, coming out on top.