No matter what happens at Sunday’s TCS London Marathon, it’s already one for the history books, with possibly the deepest and most exciting lineup of elite athletes we’ve ever seen in one race. The men’s race has five of the world’s fastest marathoners (but not the four-time winner and course record holder Eliud Kipchoge, who had a rare disappointing showing in Boston on Monday). Any of them could be in contention for victory at Sunday’s race.
Sir Mo Farah and Kenenisa Bekele are both racing, but no one expects them to win; Farah has said this will be his last marathon, and he hasn’t run faster than 2:05 since 2019. His build-up to London hasn’t been ideal, running 30:41 for 10K in Gabon, but the 40-year -old is looking forward to running a marathon in front of a home crowd one last time.
Bekele is now over 40; he was fifth in London last year, with a 40+ age-group world record of 2:05. He has surprised us before (remember that he only ran his PB–still the third-fastest marathon in history at 2:01:41–in 2019). But realistically, he is unlikely to finish on the podium on Sunday.
Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor is racing London for the first time. The two-time New York City Marathon champion was fourth at this year’s World Cross Country Championships (the event he won in 2017) and fifth in the marathon at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore. Sadly, a PB of 2:05 (earned at the 2021 Valencia Marathon, where he finished fourth) is not likely to get him onto the podium in a race against men whose PBs are two minutes faster, but he is an athlete who always seems to be in contention, wherever he races.
If you’re looking for a winner, the safe bet is defending champion Amos Kipruto; he is a training partner of 2023 boston marathon champion Evans Chebet and third-place finisher benson Kipruto, and his personal best is an impressive 2:03:13, faster than what he ran to win London last year–2:04:39.
But his competition won’t make it easy for him: Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew, Birhanu Legese and Tamirat Tola (the reigning world champion) have all raced London more than once, so they are very familiar with the course. Geremew has podiumed there twice in the last two years, and Legese has a PB of 2:02:48. Tola has podiumed in three of his last four marathons and has run 2:06 or faster at all of them. Seifu Tura is another athlete to watch in London, he has also podiumed in three of his last four races, winning the 2021 Chicago Marathon and placing second in 2022 behind Benson Kipruto.
Another wild card is the Kenyan phenom, Kelvin Kiptum, who blasted out at 2:01:53 debut marathon at Valencia last year, becoming the third-fastest marathoner in history; London will be his first major marathon.
Canada’s Rory Linkletter was on the start list when the men’s elite field was announced in early February, but he has since withdrawn from the field due to an injury he suffered in March.
How to watch
If you have a subscription to FloTrack, you can follow Sunday’s marathon coverage starting at 3:30 am ET The elite women will start at 9 am local time, while the elite men will go off at 9:40 am