This year’s London Marathon could be the greatest in history with defending men’s champion Wilson Kipsang and world record holder Dennis Kimetto going head-to-head for the first time.
With five of the seven fastest men ever competing on Sunday, Kipsang, 33, said a quick time would be “easy”.
“With this kind of field, it will be a fast race and more tactical,” he said.
Kenyan runners are expected to dominate the women’s race with Mary Keitany bidding for a third victory in London.
The fastest woman in the field is Keitany and her biggest challengers are defending champion Edna Kiplagat and compatriots Mary Keitany, Florence Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo. The elite women will start at 09:20 BST.
Paralympic champion David Weir is Britain’s best chance of victory, with the 34-year-old aiming for a record seventh London Marathon wheelchair-race title (09:00 BST start).
Much of the build-up to Sunday’s event has focused on women’s world record holder and three-time London Marathon winner Paula Radcliffe.
The 41-year-old will set off at 10:10 BST with club runners on her London Marathon farewell.
It is the men’s elite race, which starts at 10:10 BST, where a rousing finish is anticipated in a showdown between two of the greatest marathon runners of their generation.
BBC Radio 5 live athletics expert Mike Costello
|“It is a fascinating head-to-head between the fastest man in history and the man he took the record from. But there are the top three of all time in the field and five of the fastest seven men in history – it’s no wonder it’s being called the greatest men’s field in history.|
|Dennis Kimetto is a remarkable story. He had his first international race as recently as 2011 at the age of 27. He’s a raw talent who might be ready to go even quicker.”|
Two-time London Marathon winner Kipsang has been in fine form leading up to the race, winning his last three events in the World Marathon Majors series.
But last year’s champion has never faced training partner Kimetto over 26.2 miles.
“I’m expecting a big challenge from Dennis,” said Kipsang, who set the London course record in 2:04.29 last year. “I broke the world record in Berlin in 2013, then he broke the record last year.”
Rain and wind are forecast in London during the race, which could ruin hopes of a world record, but Kipsang said there are plenty of reasons to get excited.
Others making up the high-class field are Geoffrey Mutai, previous winner of the Boston, Berlin and New York marathons, Kenya’s Stanley Biwott, 2011 London Marathon winner Emmanuel Mutai and 2014 Chicago Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge.
“If this was a World Championship field, this would be enough,” added Kipsang.
“When we are together, people can really see the potential in the athletes and it’s easier to get people excited.
“With many strong guys, there is a high chance of us running a fast time. It’s not something that we need to think about. When there are this many strong guys, it will be a fast time. Easy.”
Watch as Paula Radcliffe looks back at her career in Paula Radcliffe: The Marathon and Me on BBC One at 13:00 BST on Saturday, 25 April
London Marathon 2015
|Date: Sunday, 26 April Start times: 09:00 wheelchair races; 09:20 elite women; 10:10 elite men; 10:10 Paula Radcliffe and leading club runners.|
|Coverage: Live on BBC Two from 08:30 BST and BBC One from 10:00, Radio 5 live and BBC Sport website from 08:30.|
|Extra streams: Elite races on the Red Button, selected Connected TVs and online from 08:30 plus marathon stories from 12:30 and the finishing line from 13:00 until 14:00.|