Wednesday, April 13, 2011

2011 Virgin London Marathon Men's Preview

By Robert Johnson,

On Sunday, the most competitive 26.2-mile professional race on the planet will once again be held - the 2011 Virgin London Marathon.
Last week, much was made by the organizers of the Rotterdam Marathon that the "Magnificent 7" were taking aim at Haile Gebrselassie's world record of 2:03:59. The "Magnificent 7" referred to the fact that the top seven leading male entrants in terms of personal bests in Rotterdam all had PRs that were sub-2:07. Well, if Rotterdam was proud of their Magnificent 7, then London needs to come up an even more grandiose name, as the London field puts Rotterdam to shame.
Assembled in London are seven sub-2:06 marathoners (Rotterdam had four), including two sub-2:05s (zero for Rotterdam). That's incredibly impressive considering only 24 men in history have gone sub 2:06. Throw in a 2:06:15 guy in 2009 World Championships silver medallist Emmanuel Mutai, who also was the runner-up last year in London, three 2:07 guys (including World Championships bronze medalist Viktor Röthlin) and two 2:08s (including multi-time NYC winner Marilson Gomes dos Santos), and you've once again got a field worthy of being considered the greatest assembled in the last year, yet again.