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Last Updated: Monday, 23 January 2006, 16:06 GMT
London to host 'finest marathon'
By Simon Austin

Paul Tergat
Paul Tergat World record holder
Haile Gebrselassie Double Olympic champion
Stefano Baldini Olympic marathon champion
Jaouad Gharib World champion
Martin Lel London winner 2005
Hendrick Ramaala New York winner 2004
London marathon organisers insist they have assembled the strongest field ever in this year's men's race.

World record holder Paul Tergat and double Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie head the field.

Race director David Bedford told BBC Sport: "Without doubt this is the greatest men's field ever assembled.

"Fingers crossed all the athletes turn up healthy and we'll have the greatest marathon the world has seen. There's a strong chance of a world record."

He added: "There are a couple of ingredients that mean a record is possible.

"The first is that we have the world record holder in the field, Paul Tergat.

"And the second is Haile Gebrselassie. When he last ran London in 2002, the world record was broken by Khalid Khannouchi .

"The view of the top marathon runners is that if Gebrselassie is in the field it will need to be pretty quick, because you don't want him on your shoulder with 100m to go.

"And Haile has shown he is in shape. He broke the world records for the half marathon and 20k in Arizona earlier in the month."

Tergat said he is desperate to win his first London marathon.

It is a field that is likely to bring an explosive race
Paul Tergat

The world record holder has twice finished second in the race and came in a disappointing eighth last year.

"If I was to win, it would be one of the best moments of my career," he told BBC Sport.

"I have a lot of passion for competing here and I'm excited to be in London once more, especially this year.

"We have some top-class runners in the race. It's one of the best fields we've ever had.

"This race will not be only between Tergat and Haile. There are many other good runners - Hendrick Ramaala, Stefano Baldini and Martin Lel.

"It is a field that is likely to bring an explosive race. Apart from the world championship, I think this is the biggest now, the best of all time.

He agreed there was a possibility of a new world record.

"It's possible - wait and see. It's the finest class of runners we could possibly have in the marathon.

"Everything's going very well in my training and I'm looking forward to the day."

Tergat wins thrilling NY marathon
06 Nov 05 |  Athletics

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