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Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Thursday, 10 April 2008 18:09 UK

London Marathon athletes to watch

MEN'S FIELD

Martin Lel
Name: Martin Lel
Age: 29
Nationality: Kenyan
London best: Winner 2005 and 2007
PB: 2:06.41
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.


Sammy Wanjiru
Name: Sammy Wanjiru
Age: 21
Nationality: Kenyan
London best: Debut this year
PB: 2:06.39
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.


Felix Limo
Name: Felix Limo
Age: 27
Nationality: Kenyan
London best: Winner 2006, third 2007
PB: 2:06.14
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.


Dan Robinson
Name: Dan Robinson
Age: 33
Nationality: British
London best: 9th in 2007
PB: 2:13:53
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.

WOMEN'S FIELD

Berhane Adere
Name: Berhane Adere
Age: 34
Nationality: Ethiopian
London best: 4th 2006
PB: 2:20:42
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.


Gete Wami
Name: Gete Wami
Age: 33
Nationality: Ethiopian
London best: 2nd 2007
PB: 2:21:34
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.


Salina Kosgei
Name: Salina Kosgei
Age: 31
Nationality: Kenyan
London best: 4th 2007
PB: 2:23:22
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.


Constantina Tomesca-Dita
Name: Constantina Tomesca-Dita
Age: 38
Nationality: Romanian
London best: 2nd 2005
PB: 2:21:30
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".


Liz Yelling
Name: Liz Yelling
Age: 33
Nationality: British
London best: 8th 2007
PB: 2:30:44
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.

see also
Steve Cram column
10 Apr 08 |  Athletics
Lel set to defend London Marathon
11 Dec 07 |  Athletics
Robinson to run London Marathon
17 Jan 08 |  Athletics
Yelling seals fourth in Chicago
07 Oct 07 |  Athletics
Lel wins London Marathon thriller
22 Apr 07 |  Athletics
London Marathon on the BBC
09 Apr 08 |  Athletics
Paula's pearls of marathon wisdom
09 Apr 08 |  Athletics


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