Name: Martin Lel
London best: Winner 2005 and 2007
Colours: Blue vest, red shorts
Lel, coached by Dr Gabriele Rosa, starts as slight favourite this year as he goes for his third win in four years.
He failed to finish his first marathon (Prague, 2002) but made his breakthrough the following year when he won the world half-marathon championship with a trademark sprint finish and followed it up with victory in the New York marathon.
In 2007 he triumphed in both London and New York, becoming the first man to with both events in the same year.
Name: Sammy Wanjiru
London best: Debut this year
Colours: Red and blue vest, blue and red shorts
The brightest young talent in men's distance running, Wanjiru set a new world record for the half-marathon at the tender age of 18.
He says he is aiming to run a 2.05 marathon this weekend in order to make the Kenyan team for the Beijing Olympics.
Wanjiru moved to Japan when he was 15 and now lives in Fukuoka. He is coached by Japan's 1992
Olympic marathon silver medallist Koichi Morishita and is fluent in both Japanese and English.
Name: Felix Limo
London best: Winner 2006, third 2007
Colours: White vest, black shorts
The Kenyan made a sensational marathon debut in Amsterdam five years ago, where he clocked a phenomenal 2:06:42.
His first big win came in Berlin in 2004, and he followed it up with another first place in Chicago the following year.
He managed to out-sprint Martin Lel in the final few strides on The Mall two years ago to take his first London title, but he could only manage third a year ago after a spell out with an injured back.
Name: Dan Robinson
London best: 9th in 2007
Colours: Great Britain vest and shorts
Robinson only took up running 10 years ago and made his breakthrough in 2001 when he clocked 2:16:51 in Frankfurt.
A personal best at London in 2004 won him selection for the Athens Olympics, where he finished 23rd, and he followed that with 14th at the 2005 World Championships, a bronze medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and 11th at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka.
Recently gave up his job as a manager of a health club to devote more time to his running, and now works as a part-time sports teacher.
Name: Berhane Adere
London best: 4th 2006
Colours: Yellow vest, green shorts
A two-time Chicago marathon winner, Adere has been running at top level since winning the African 10,000m title way back in 1993.
She won 10,000m gold at the 2003 World Championships and silver in Helsinki two years later but struggled on her marathon debut in Rotterdam.
She had a poor second half of the race in London last year and slipped back from the leading pack to finish 10th, but won the Dubai marathon in fine fashion at the start of this year.
Name: Gete Wami
London best: 2nd 2007
Colours: Red vest and shorts with white stripe
One of the greatest female distance runners of all time, Wami has won 19 individual and team medals in World Cross Country competition, including individual golds over the long course in 1996 and 1999.
She won Olympic 10,000m bronze in Athens in 1996 and followed that with 10,000m silver and 5,000m bronze in Sydney four years later.
She was just 11 seconds off her personal best in coming second behind Zhou Chunxiu in London last year and won $500,000 by winning the World Marathon Majors series after being out-sprinted by Paula Radcliffe in New York last November.
Name: Salina Kosgei
London best: 4th 2007
Colours: Black vest and shorts with white edging
Kosgei, an extravagantly talented youngster, won four successive Kenyan Schools titles at
heptathlon and was a champion at 200m, 800m and on both relay teams.
She retired from athletics to give birth to and raise her two children but made a spectacular comeback by winning the 2002 Commonwealth 10,000m title in Manchester.
A corporal in the Kenyan Prisons Service, she is married to 1994 Commonwealth
Games 400m hurdles bronze medallist Barnabas Kinyor.
Name: Constantina Tomesca-Dita
London best: 2nd 2005
Colours: Black vest, black shorts
This will be Tomesca-Dita's seventh run in London, and after failing to finish in 1999 she has finished in the top six in each of the last five years.
The dominant Romanian long-distance athlete of her generation, she is the reigning national record holder at 5km, 10km, 15km, half marathon and marathon.
She is married to her coach Valeriu Tomescu, with whom she has a 13-year-old son, Raphael, and answers to the nickname "Pusha".
Name: Liz Yelling
London best: 8th 2007
Colours: Great Britain vest and shorts
As experienced a runner as any currently active British female, Yelling has represented GB ten times at
the European cross country championships and nine times at the worlds.
She took Commonwealth marathon bronze two years ago and has continued to improve since then, and is aiming for both a 2:30 finish in London and a place in the GB team for Beijing.
An art and PE teacher, she is married to Martin Yelling, the 2002 British duathlon champion, with whom she runs a fitness consultancy business.