40,000 runners will toe the line for tomorrow's Berlin Marathon, the fourth of this year's World Marathon Majors (WMM). An elite field with their eyes on world records and big WMM cheques will share the occasion with thousands of ordinary Heinrichs and Hannas for the the autumn endurance classic.
And with hundreds of ordinary Jack and Jills who make the annual pilgrimage to the start close to the Brandenburg Gate from the UK. Many major charities like Oxfam, Macmillan and British Heart Foundation send large contingents to the German capital for an event that combines a historic route - the Reichstag and the Berliner Dom are highlights, a flat forgiving course and great support from more than a million spectators.
At the business end of the race, there will be no surprise if marathon aces including Tsegaye Kebede and Dennis Kimetto threaten the world record on a course where the past five men’s records for 26.2 miles have been set. That roll of honour includes Paul Tergat, Haile Gebrselassie and Wilson Kipsang. Kipsang set the current fastest mark - 2:03:23 - in last year's race.
Tirfi Tsegaye, Kayoko Fukushi, Anna Hahner and Shalene Flanagan - the American misses the big US marathons in the hope of a fast time - are expected to run prominently in the women's race.