MEN TO WATCH
The favourite. Defending three-time champion and course record holder (2 hours 7 minutes 58 seconds) from Kenya. “If the pacers go fast, I can be in position. But they cook the race. I only bring dinner to the table at the end.”
Runner from Guelph, Ont., set mark for a Canadian on Canadian soil last fall (2:11:23). Wants to chase Jerome Drayton’s 36-year-old Canadian record (2:10:09). “I’m definitely going to take a shot at it, but it may be windy and that will be a factor.”
Nixon Machichim Kipkoech
The Kenyan ran fourth in the Toronto Waterfront in 2010 (2:08:22) and could make up the 24 seconds to countryman Mungara. Won the 2011 Linz marathon (2:09:37) and has been preparing for Toronto since May.
WOMEN TO WATCH
Ethiopian was fourth in 2010 (2:24:33). Leads the elite women’s field after strong 2011 finishes, winning January’s Mumbai marathon (2:26:56) and placing third in Paris in April. Wants 2:22:00 here to be sure of Ethiopian Olympic team. “Fantastic conditions for me would be not too hot, not too cold.”
Has taken aim on a time of 2:22 to make Ethiopian Olympic team. She was third at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in February. The favourite at the Los Angeles marathon in March, she was third in a slow 2:30:25, but rebounded to win a half-marathon in China in April, and ran 2:25.27 to place fifth at Frankfurt.
Vancouverite was leading Canadian at 2:47:44 in 2010 Scotiabank Waterfront marathon. A teacher and yoga trainer in Vancouver, she has been one of Canada’s top distance runners since 2004.