Sunday’s marathon will come to a close at the Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí, a venue that was built as a permanent parade ground to take in the sights, sounds and delights of the Rio Carnival. Marathon viewers will be hopeful that the race will live up to the excitement of the carnival (even if a WR looks unlikely) with a number of runners in contention, and considerable interest in the prospects, and future potential of, Team GB.
Considering his form throughout 2016, including a thrillingn defence of his marathon title in London, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge is favourite. Kipchoge’s time in London (2:03:05) set a new course record and stands as the fastest marathon this year.
In contention, however, is compatriot Stanley Biwott, who took second behind Kipchoge in London with a PB of 2:03:51. Biwott has enjoyed the victory at one of the majors before, winning in New York in 2015.
Looking to break the Kenyan dominance and defend his Olympic crown will be Stephen Kiprotich. The 27-year-old prevailed in London with a winning time of 2:08:01 in tough conditions: the Ugandan is improving, too, having set a PB of 2:06:33 at last year’s Tokyo Marathon.
On paper, Tesfaye Abera is one of the strongest in the field with a PB of 2:04:24, while Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, is an outside bet after his surprise victory in Beijing last year.
Carrying the hopes of Team GB are the Hawkins brothers (Callum and Derek) and Tsegai Tewelde, who all posted Olympic qualifying times at London. Callum has also set a half marathon PB in 2016, and in London, passed Dennis Kimetto - the current marathon world record holder - en route to securing an impressive eighth place. At just 24, and with two distance PBs this year, the Scots runner will be one to watch on Sunday.