Running superstar Sir Mo Farah has called on the British public to help him as he attempts to win the London Marathon for the first time on Sunday.
The four-time Olympic gold medallist has put a very public row with Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie behind him and says he feels confident going into Sunday’s race.
“All I can ask from the crowd is to give me as much information as possible, as I go through the last 10 miles in particular,” Sir Mo told Sky News.
“If I’m leading, if I’m behind, the more information I have the easier it is. This race means a lot to me. I finished third last year and this year I believe I can give it a little bit more.”
Sir Mo will have to run the race of his life if he’s to beat the reigning champion and world record holder, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, who has won the marathon three times.
Kipchoge is a red-hot 8/11 favourite to win after smashing the world record in Berlin in September with a time of 2:01:39.
“The marathon for me is life,” Kipchoge told me. “The marathon is inspiration for me and shows that you can find freedom in this world. What other profession gives you freedom?
“I’m excited to be running the streets of London once more against Sir Mo and the other guys.”
This year’s race will see runners raise more than £1bn for charity.
The race was first held in 1981 and the 2019 edition will see the billion pound mark finally broken.
‘Rhino runner’ Liz Winton from Oxfordshire will again be competing in the race’s most famous costume for Save The Rhino.
“There’s no greater experience than running the London Marathon, you’re running with so many people, all trying their hearts out,” said Ms Winton, who ran five marathons in five days in Kenya last year for rhino conservation.
“The feeling when you cross that finish line is just pure euphoria and it’s an absolute privilege to be able to run it for Save The Rhino.”
Among the tens of thousands of competitors there will again be the usual mix of bizarre world record attempts. Rebecca and Nuno Cesar de Sa from West Yorkshire are attempting to run the fastest handcuffed London Marathon, a record which currently stands at 4 hours and 2 minutes.
“We’re both used to running quite fast but obviously this is really going to slow us down!” said Rebecca, who will be running for a brain tumour charity.
The marathon will be started by three-time Grand Slam champion Sir Andy Murray.