London,England – Of course, anything can happen, but on this final day before Sunday’s 33rd Virgin London Marathon the talk around the Tower Hotel hard along the rolling Thames River has turned to the what-ifs. What if the men go for the world record? Who will make the first break when the rabbits depart? What if Mo Farah, the double Olympic Brit track champ going along for the ride for the first half, does something beyond sit off the back and observe? What if the stacked field doesn’t go with the pacers and turns inward and tactical instead? Ah, racing, that most unpredictable of all dramas.
The 2013 London Marathon has been billed as a world record attempt, but with this many top dogs in the hunt, the win is one for the ages, regardless of the winning time. So for me, the men’s race comes down to motivation. With the credentials of this field — five World Marathon Majors course record holders, ten sub-2:06 men, including six of the fastest ten in history — every contender has known big success. But Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich already has the prize everyone else wanted, the Olympic gold medal from 2012. Defending champion Wilson Kipsang holds the London title and the Olympic bronze, and is the second quickest marathon man in history off his 2:03:42 win in Frankfurt 2011, just four seconds shy of Patrick Makau’s world record (2:03:38) from Berlin 2011. Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede arrives as the 2012 Chicago course record holder and 2010 London champ. But it’s Makau and the world’s fastest marathoner, Geoffrey Mutai (2:03:02) from Boston 2011 who stand out as the two most invested in revenge, a powerful emotional tool. Continue reading