1. Irene Cherop, Kenya - last year's winner in 2:39:31. She is will no doubt be motivated by the $10 G for first place, $2 G for a new course record, $500 for fastest split at the half marathon and (this is my favorite) $20 PER SECOND under the current course record. Cool! Even if she runs one second faster than last year, she is potentially looking at a purse of $12,520. Not bad for a Canadian marathon. And I love the quasi-infinite cash potential of the $20/second bonus. It's a risky prize, 5 minutes translates to $6 G.
but she does not necessarily have it locked up as also returning is
2. Abrha Serkalem, Ethiopia - third place last year in 2:43:07.
3. Myriam Grenon - my former teammate from when I ran for a local club in Montreal. She is the super speedy local runner who beat me at the last 5 km I ran. She has a marathon PR of 2:48 run in May and was 5th last year at the Montreal Marathon in 2:53. She has set PRs in every distance between 5 km and the marathon over the last year including a sub-1:20 half and a sub-36 10 km. Oh, did I mention she has FOUR children? Yeah, she's a bit of a hero and inspiration to me. I don't think beating her is in the cards but it will be fun to run near her for a few kms.
4. Mystery runner who I cannot track down.
Now, here's the fun part. According to rumor, one of the international elites was "lost in transit". What does that even mean? How does that happen? I am not sure which of the 3 runners who are not Myriam and myself is lost.
In addition, Irene Cherop does not actually appear in the confirmed list of runners right now but the local paper claimed she was back SO this means that other fast people from last year could be back and they are just not officially listed yet. Anyway it doesn't matter *that* much to me, I just think it is interesting, adds an element of suspense.
Thanks everyone for your support and cheering. I will tie my shoes tightly, drink lots of fluids today, try to be intelligent (always a struggle when moving over 14 kph) and have a little fun along the way.