While the 2018 Boston Marathon saw several elite runners bracing themselves against the chilly downpour, weather conditions at the 2018 London Marathon are going to be a different challenge.The expected temperatures are predicted to soar up to 73 degrees and could surpass the hottest 72 degrees recorded in 1996 and 2007. The race is scheduled for Sunday, April 22, at 4:15 am for the elite women and 5:00 am for the men’s division.
Many of the stars from the running community will be competing to set new world records, both in the men’s and women’s elite races. However, the daunting weather will prove a challenge and race director Hugh Brasher revealed that measures are being taken to provide aid to the runners during the marathon. Extra ice and on-course showers will be made available to the 40,00 odd runners in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the 2014 tragedy when runner Robert Berry diet of a heatstroke.
But will this heatwave keep the worlds top athletes from breaking records? Runner’s World spoke to some of the marathon biggies and here’s what they have their eyes set on:
Eliud Kipchoge: The World’s Best Runner
The poster boy for Nike’s Breaking2 attempt and Olympic champion, Eliud Kipchoge is the fastest man to ever run 26.2 miles has won seven major marathons (including two London wins). Put short, there has never been a runner like Kipchoge but due to several reasons he has been unable to beat the record of Dennis Kimetto, who is the official world record holder at 2:02:57. Kipchoge had to bypass the London Marathon last year in order to take part in Nike’s Breaking2, where he clocked 2:00:25. This, however, was not considered as an official record due to the use of rotating pacers and several other criteria.
Kipchoge’s coach, Patrick Sang believes that he will emerge victorious despite the hot weather, and prove himself as the world’s fastest runner. But, with several top runners such as Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, the second fastest man of all times; British athlete Mo Farah and Ethiopia’s Guye Adola, who is the fastest debut runner of all time; things definitely will be challenging for Kipchoge to set a world record.
Mary Keitany & Tirunesh Dibaba -Chase Paula Radcliffe’s Record
Paula Radcliffe’s performance in the 2003 London Marathon (2 hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds) is an unbeaten women’s marathon world record; it’s no wonder that the likes of Kenya’s Mary Keitany and Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba have their eyes set on chasing this. The 26-year-old Keitany holds the world record at 2:17:01 for the women’s only race that she clocked last year in London. She told Runner’s World, “Since this year the London Marathon will have male pacesetters, hopefully, this will help me to shave a few seconds of time. Walking in the legendary Paula Radcliffe’s footsteps will not be easy. But we will try our best.”
But Keitany has a strong contender in Tirunesh Dibaba, who is a three-time Olympic champion and conquered the Chicago Marathon last year in 2:18:31. Dibaba who came in second in last year’s women’s London is equally pumped about breaking Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15. “I will not sit back, but take the race to Keitany,” she said.
Mo Farah- Return As Britain’s King
The 35-year old Olympic champion reigned as the undisputed king of the track until four years back at the London Marathon, when Britain’s Mo Farah finished eight at 2:08:21. Not only was he made aware of the difficulty of proving his dominance in marathon racing, he was also left with the unfamiliar feeling of an underdog.
Though he retired from track racing last summer, he has ever since been making plans focussing on this year’s London Marathon. He is said to have logged 130-mile weeks in Ethiopia under the guidance of coach Gary Lough, the husband of Paula Radcliffe. “I think I’m capable of running 2:04 or 2:03 with the right pace. But the London Marathon this year is going to be different with the challenging weather and equally challenging competitors,” he said earlier this week.