The world awaits another gripping marathon event at this year's World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Sunday, August 27, with a stellar lineup of elite runners from across the globe.
Ethiopia's defending champion, Tamirat Tola, who broke the championship record last year with a time of 2:05:36, seeks to enter an elite circle of men's marathon runners who successfully defended their world title. Only three others have achieved this - Abel Anton, Jaouad Gharib, and Abel Kirui. Tola, with a track record that boasts a bronze in the 10000 metres at Rio 2016 and silver in the marathon at the 2017 World Championships, finished a commendable third in this year's London Marathon.
Ethiopia fields a formidable team, including talents like Milkesa Mengesha, winner of the U-20 cross country title and Daegu Marathon, Chalu Deso, Tokyo Marathon's victor, Leul Gebrselase, and Tsegaye Getachew.
The Kenyan squadron is led by Timothy Kiplagat, who secured a close second in Rotterdam, Titus Kipruto, with wins and commendable finishes in Milan, Amsterdam, and Tokyo, and Joshua Belet, who showcased his skill with a second-place finish in Hamburg.
The Dutch are not far behind, with Addi Nageeye, the 2021 Olympic Games silver medallist and third-place finisher at the 2022 New York Marathon, in the fray. Alphonce Felix Simbu from Tanzania, a consistent performer in major championships, is another name to watch.
Uganda will be pinning hopes on Victor Kiplangat, the Commonwealth Games champion, and Stephan Kissa, their national record holder.
Sub-2:06 runners on the list to keep an eye on include Kaan Kigen Ozbilen from Turkey and Goitom Kifle and Oqbe Kibrom from Eritrea.
Italy presents an interesting lineup led by Eyob Faniel, accompanied by the European champion Daniele Meuuci and Yohanes Chiappinelli. The Israeli team features the promising Marum Terefi and Gashu Ayale, who showcased their prowess at the European Championships in Munich.
Not to be forgotten, the seasoned Spanish runner Ayad Lamdassem, at the age of 41, will be competing yet again, demonstrating the endurance and passion for the sport.
With such a diverse and elite group of athletes, the men's marathon at this year's World Athletics Championships is poised to be an intense, dramatic, and unforgettable event. Who will emerge as the world champion? Only the race will tell.