Dorre at the door of fame

Norman Fox assesses the rival battles in today's London Marathon

FOR the second time in a few days, a large proportion of the world's top distance runners race in Britain. And for the second time it will be the women who offer the best prospect of drama. Last weekend it was that absorbing world cross-country battle between Derartu Tulu and the unfortunate Catherina McKiernan in Durham. Today the London Marathon offers Germany's Katrin Dorre the opportunity to join Ingrid Kristiansen in the event's hall of fame with a fourth successive victory. Or will Scotland's Liz McColgan prove that she can do more than talk a good comeback?

Dorre, brought up fully committed to the rigid East German coaching system ("which did everything for me except make me rich") and a former medical student at the University of Leipzig, has run 31 marathons, 18 of which she has won. At the age of 33, and now a mother, she thinks this may be her last attempt at the London race, a suggestion to bring some comfort to the rest. With the Australian Lisa Ondieki deciding this week to pull out because of an injury, the favourites behind Dorre have become Renata Kokowska (Poland), the European champion Manuela Machado (Portugal), Kim Jones (United States), and McColgan.

Bearing in mind the fact that she has suffered a couple of defeats since returning to full training after months suffering from injuries that threatened her career, perhaps it is unfair to expect too much of McColgan. The trouble is she always expects a lot of herself: "I'm sure I've never been fitter than I am now. If anything was going to break down it would have done so by now." But her personal best for the marathon is two minutes slower than that of Dorre, who has rarely been bothered by injuries.

McColgan keeps insisting that this year's London Marathon has always been her target, but other targets have come and gone. This could be her last chance to put her career back on course. But whether her comment that Dorre was just one of several potential rivals today was wise we shall soon discover. She made a similar remark in 1993 when Dorre and Ondieki relegated her to third place.

On current form the men's winner should be 32-year-old Steve Moneghetti, the Australiajn who has won his last two marathons. But the favourite is last year's winner, Dionicio Ceron of Mexico, who has been predicting that sooner or later he can reduce his time to 2hr 5min (he did 2:08:57 in poor conditions last year) and is looking confident in spite of a year interrupted by injuries. If the weather is, as predicted, cool and not too windy, there is a real possibility that these two, possibly with last year's runner-up, Abebe Mekonnen, of Ethiopia, in a fast leading group, could drive each other to a world best time, which stands at 2:06:50 set seven years ago by Belayneh Densimo, also of Ethiopia. A world best in London is worth $100,000 to the winner who would also collect the $10,000 first prize (not to mention appearance money). At very least Steve Jones's course record of 2hr 8min 16sec set in 1985 should be under threat.

If it comes to a sprint finish, the odds would be on Antonio Pinto, of Portugal, the 1992 winner in London, or perhaps Britain's 36-year-old Eamonn Martin, the 1993 winner and 10,000m specialist, though he found last year's race a struggle.

Although the London race is not strictly speaking a world championship trial, it acts as one of the selection races. It would be embarrassing for the selectors if Britain's Paul Evans should win. Evans has fallen out with the British Athletic Federation over what he believes is an apathetic approach to long-distance running, but he still hopes to make the British team in the 10,000m. Having dropped out of his last three marathons, he has a lot to prove. "But I still believe I've got a great marathon in me. It could be Sunday. I won't let Moneghetti and Ceron get away".

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Communications and External Affairs Assistant

£24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Communications and External Affairs As...

Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst- (Customer Support) - £29,000

£29000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst- (Customer Suppor...

Recruitment Genius: Laser Games Supervisor

£14500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PPC Executive / Manager

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A PPC Executive/Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness