Despite the fact he contracted typhoid last month, Emmanuel Mutai has claimed he is determined as ever to retain his Virgin London Marathon title this Sunday (April 22). The Kenyan athlete, who set a course record and PB of 2:04:40 at last year's event, will head a 35,000 strong running crowd in what is the 32nd staging of the race.
With Mutai one of six Kenyan athletes vying for three Olympic slots, the runner is aware an impressive showing in London is required: "I had a fever a few weeks ago and was under medication. But I am feeling better now and my recovery has been good. I will have to try my best."
Mutai will be up against world record holder Patrick Makau and world champion Abel Kirui and is under no illusions as to the challenge that lies ahead: "For me this will definitely be a tougher competition than last year because the field is so strong. Everyone has run a good time so I will have to perform at my best."
In the women's field, Mary Keitany will be looking to defend her title after recording a convincing victory in last year's race. Keitany will be up against compatriots Edna Kiplagat, silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo and Berlin winner Florence Kiplagat. As with the male competitors, the female runners will be looking to set a strong time to improve their chances of Olympic selection.
Amidst the 35,000 competitors, a host of notable faces are expected to take part; BBC News presenters Susannah Reid and Sophie Raworth, former European and Commonwealth 400m champion Iwan Thomas and singer Will Young. Shadow chancellor Ed Balls will attempt an economic running style as he makes his way around the 26.2 mile course.
For all those running, forecasters are predicting sunshine with a few clouds for tomorrow's race with the possibility of rain later in the day. Temperatures are said to begin at 7C (7am) and will rise to 14C in the afternoon.