Sunday, April 17, 2005

LONDON MARATHON

Record number for London Marathon.
A record number of runners are due to take part in Sunday's London Marathon. Just over 36,000 people have officially registered to run, delighting race director David Bedford. He said: "This figure represents a 10% increase on any previous record and shows how keen people are to join us in celebrating our anniversary race." Briton Paula Radcliffe and Kenya's Paul Tergat are the favourites to lift the women's and men's titles in the 25th running of the race. Radcliffe, 31, is being tipped to set a new world record, eclipsing the mark of two hours 15 minutes 25 seconds she set over the course in 2003. Organisers have replaced the notorious Tower of London cobbles with a fast, flat stretch along the Highway which could slash 45 seconds off the elite field's times. The Isle of Dogs loop will also be run anti-clockwise. But Radcliffe faces stiff competition from defending champion Margaret Okayo and her Kenyan compatriot Susan Chepkemei, who finished second to the Briton in New York last November. Tergat, who holds the men's world best time of 2:04.55, set in Berlin in 2003, is likely to be pushed hard by holder Evans Rutto and Olympic gold medallist Stefano Baldini from Italy. In the wheelchair race, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson bids to win her seventh London.

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