To say it has been an action-packed week in the world of distance running would be downplaying the most peculiar of build-ups to the 2019 London Marathon.
Haile Gebrselassie and Sir Mo Farah have torn off their spikes and started hurling them at each other, two distance running greats falling out in an all-too-public spat involving allegations of blackmail and assault during Farah’s seemingly eventful stay at the Gebrselassie-owned Yaya Village Resort in Addis Ababa.
Hardly ideal preparation, then, for Farah as he strives for an unlikely first British men’s winner in London since 1993.
Away from Farah, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge will look for a fourth win in five years, and with a personal best nearly two minutes better than anyone else in the field (compatriot Wilson Kipsang his closest challenger) it may be another serene 26.2 mile cruise to victory for an emerging sporting great.
While breaking under two-hours, perhaps the ultimate goal for the freakish Kipchoge, seems out of reach, there is an outside chance of the Kenyan breaking his own world record, set in Berlin last year – his last competitive outing.
Mary Keitany’s ill-fated record attempt in 2018’s swelter saw her fade out of the medals. She’ll look to return to winning ways with a fourth London crown, though there are as many as four reigning champions in the field: Vivian Cheruiyot (London), Keitany (New York), Brigid Kosgei (Chicago) and Gladys Cherono (Berlin) a fearsome Kenyan foursome to contest the elite women’s race.
Elsewhere, David Weir seeks title number nine in the elite men’s wheelchair race, and then there is the mass race, a chance for the average Joes and Janes to test themselves behind the professionals in the wonderful sporting collision of amateur and elite, wacky and wonderful costumes in tow – all in the name of charity.