The final event to close out the athletic competition at the 2012 London Summer Olympics is the Men’s Marathon. One of the oldest events in the modern area of the Olympics, the leading contenders to win Olympic gold are clustered amongst the Kenyan and Ethiopian runners.
The Men’s Marathon beings on Sunday morning along The Mall, the grand boulevard leading to Buckingham Palace bordering St. James Park . The flat and fast marathon course will pass by a number of important London attractions including Nelson’s Column, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Guildhall, the Tower of London, Westminster and Big Ben. The course offers scenic spots along the River Thames for the hundreds of thousands of fans expected to be on hand for one of modern Olympics oldest events.
Gold Medal Contenders
1) Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich (Kenya) – Kirprotich is the world’s #1 ranked marathon runner and has a personal best of 2:03:42 set last year in Frankfurt. His PR is the fastest time leading up to the London Olympics. The Kenyan won the 2012 London Marathon in April with a season best 2:04:44 and his second fastest time ever.
2) Abel Kirui (Kenya) – Kirui is the world’s #2 marathon runners. He is a two-time World Championships gold medalist and has a personal best of 2:05:04 set at the Rotterdam Marathon in 2009.
3) Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) – Emmanuel Mutai is not related to Geoffrey Mutai, the world record holder who set the record last year at the Boston Marathon in an incredible 2:03:02. Originally left off the original continent of marathoners from Kenya, Mutai, who won the London Marathon last year, replaced Moses Mosop due to injury.
4) Ayele Absehero (Ethiopia) – Ayele Absehero set his personal best at the Dubai Marathon earlier this year in the sixth fastest time ever and a course record – 2:04:23. What might be more impressive was that the Dubai Marathon was his first ever marathon and is the fastest ever debut, in addition to being the fastest time this year.
5) Dino Sefir (Ethiopia) – Dino Sefir also set his personal best at the Dubai Marathon in January with a time of 2:04:50. Although Sefir is ranked just 24th in the world, he is expected to be amongst the leaders on Sunday.
6) Getu Feleke (Ethiopia) – Getu Feleke and Dino Sefir are tied with the 14th fastest marathon ever Feleke set his personal best at the Rotterdam Marathon in April , where he took second behind fellow countryman Yemane Adhane. Adhane was remarkably left off the team, along with Ethiopia’s most famous runner Haile Gebrselassie.
7) Ryan Hall (USA) – One American that is expected to contend for a medal is Ryan Hall, with a personal best marathon time of 2:04:58 set in last year’s Boston Marathon. His PR in the marathon is the fastest ever for an American and has a decent shot of earning an Olympic medal this year.
8) Abderrahime Bouramdane (Morocco) – Abderrahime Bouramdane has a personal best marathon time of 2:07:33 and in this year’s London Marathon, finished in 11th place with a time of 2:10:13. He must exceed his PR in order to contend for a medal in London.
9) Marilson Gomes Dos Santos (Brazil) – Marilson Gomes Dos Santos may perhaps be better known as a middle distance runner but the 35-year-old Brazilian has a personal best time of 2:06:34 set in last year’s London Marathon. He won the New York Marathon in 2006 and 2008.
10) Adil Annani (Morocco) – Adil Annani had his personal best at this year’s London Marathon in a time of 2:07:43 and may be peaking just at the right time. However it would be a monumental upset if he were to medal in the London Olympics.
Possible Olympic Record?
Because the course winds through the relatively flat streets of London, Olympic organizers and fans are hopeful for an Olympic record particularly since Ethiopian Tiki Gelena won the Women’s Marathon August 5th in an Olympic record time of 2:23:07. If the cool weather conditions persist on Sunday without the unpredictable London rain, then the Men’s Marathon Olympic record of 2:06:32 set by Kenya’s Samuel Wanjiru in Beijing may be surpassed on Sunday in London. If the conditions are wet as they were with the Women’s Marathon, any of the Olympic medals will be up for grabs.