On October 4 the running community will be glued to their televisions, witnessing what will hopefully be one of the best road races of the year. The 2020 London Marathon looks set to produce a platform for some outstanding performances, with the the elite men’s race – headlined by the greatest marathon runners in history, Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) and Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) – also including eight athletes who have run sub 2:05 marathons. This includes Mosinet Geremew (ETH) and Mule Wasihun (ETH), who were second and third respectively at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.
Then in the women’s elite race the headline acts are led by world record holder Brigid Kosgei (KEN). There are also a further five women who have run inside 2:20, current world champion Ruth Chepngetich (KEN), 2019 Valencia Marathon champion Roza Dereje (ETH), 2018 London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN), 2019 Frankfurt Marathon winner Valary Jemeli (KEN) and 2019 Amsterdam Marathon champion Degitu Azimeraw (ETH).
The Australian Elite
The excitement doesn’t end with the likes of Kipchoge, Bekele and Kosgei, with four of Australia’s best road runners also set to light up the streets of London. On the women’s side we have Sinead Diver and Ellie Pashley flying the flag for Australia, while on the men’s side we have to exciting prospects, and training partners, in Brett Robinson and Jack Rayner.
The marathon is one of the most brutal events in athletics, but if the stars align there is every chance that both the men’s and women’s Australian marathon records could come under serious threat. In the men’s race Robinson has spoken publicly about attacking the Australian record (currently held by Rob de Castella at 2:07:51*), with his intention to go out at 2:08:00 pace, while Diver’s progression over the last two years, including a PB of 2:24:11 when 7th in last years London marathon, suggests that the Australian record of 2:22:36 (Benita Willis, when 3rd at the 2006 Chicago marathon) is realistically within reach.
Note: * De Castella broke the Australian record in the Boston marathon. Boston’s course is point-to-point with a net elevation loss that exceeds the IAAF’s limits, so is not considered “legal” for record purposes. However this is only applicable from 1990, so de Castella’s record still stands as he set it back in 1986.