Double Olympic champion Mo Farah will be running against some fast competition.
The 2014 London Marathon has all the makings to be one of the greatest marathons ever. That’s almost always the case in London, but this year it has the anticipation of marathoner newcomer Mo Farah.
Farah, 31, who boasts two Olympic and three World Championship gold medals on the track, is entering the race for the second straight year. But, after running competitively through the halfway mark and purposely dropping out last year, he’s in it to win it this year.
However, the 2012 Olympic champion at 5,000 and 10,000 meters is up against four of the 10 fastest marathon runners in history, which puts him in the unusual position of being a challenger rather than the favorite. Reigning London champion Tsegaye Kebede, world record-holder Wilson Kipsang, course record-holder Emmanuel Mutai and Olympic and world champion Stephen Kiprotich are all all in the field.
Universal Sports Will Broadcast The 2014 London Marathon Online Beginning at 4 a.m. ET on Sunday morning. (This link will direct you to the live feed.)
“It is strange feeling like a novice,” Farah told The Guardian. “In track races you know if you go to the front you can control a race. It’s the distance more than the race–as a track runner you can constantly cover the distance in training. But in this one I just don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m really looking forward to it, and now it’s just about finding out if I’m good or not. I’ll give 100 percent and try not to disappoint the crowd–it’s about finding out what can I do? That’s the question.”
Claiming Steve Jones’s British record of 2:07:13, which has stood since 1985, would be a huge achievement and Farah’s half marathon times suggest this is more than within reach. Jones, a Welshman who once held the world record, set the UK mark at the 1985 Chicago Marathon, six months after he won London in 2:08:16.
Farah ran 1:01:08 to place second at the NYC Half Marathon in March. At the 2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon, Farah won in a UK record 1:00:59. He’s also run a 1:00:23 in New York, but that time wasn’t record-eligible.
“My plan is to go hard or go home,” he said. “Racing in London and having the fans and the crowd it gives me a massive boost – that’s what excites me.”
There is another high-profile debutante in the women’s race, as reigning Olympic and world 10,000m champion Tirunesh Dibaba runs her first marathon. Dibaba, from Ethiopia, goes up against last year’s winner, Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya, as well as Ethiopia’s London 2012 champion, Tiki Gelana.