As backdrops for sporting dramas go, it’s hard to beat a palace. Hampton Court offered a suitably regal setting for Bradley Wiggins, and The Mall leading to Buckingham Palace will today be both the start and finish for the men’s marathon. In fact, the entire 26.2 mile route could have been calculated to offer watching foreigners a picture-postcard view of London, taking in Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and the Houses of Parliament. The course is very different from the London Marathon. The 26.2 miles (42.195km) route comprises one short circuit of 2.2 miles (3.571km), followed by three circuits of 8 miles (12.875km).
The Kenyans dominate the men’s marathon. London Marathon winner Wilson Kipsang is favourite for gold, closely followed by team-mate and double world champion Abel Kirui. These two are so strong, the selectors have even overlooked world record holder Patrick Makau. Similarly, the Ethiopians have omitted the greatest distance runner of all time, Haile Gebrselassie, and picked instead 21-year-old Ayele Abshero, who ran the fastest marathon debut ever in Dubai. Expect a gritty battle to claim the gold medal… Brendan Foster, Bronze medallist, 10,000m, 1976
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