The 40th London Marathon airs live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Sunday morning.
World record holders Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei of Kenya headline the fields for the elite-only races without spectator access on a different, looped course at St. James’s Park. The London Marathon was postponed from its traditional April date due to the coronavirus pandemic.
NBCSN coverage starts at 2 a.m. ET. Olympic Channel picks up coverage at 8 with the wheelchair races.
Unlike traditional major marathons, the women will finish their race before the men start.
Race start times (ET)
Elite women — 2:15 a.m.
Elite men — 5:15
Elite wheelchair — 8:10
Unlike previous London Marathons, athletes will cover 19 laps of the park, then move to the Mall for the traditional finish.
In the men’s race, the two fastest marathoners in history were set to go head-to-head until Kenenisa Bekele withdrew Friday with a calf injury.
Kipchoge, who set the world record of 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon, and the Ethiopian Bekele, who clocked 2:01:41 at the 2019 Berlin Marathon, are the only men to ever break 2:02 in a marathon.
Sunday marks the 35-year-old Kipchoge’s first race since he clocked 1:59:40 at a non-record-eligible event in Vienna last Oct. 12. He’s won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.
Kosgei, 26, leads the women’s field in a title defense. A day after Kipchoge’s sub-two-hour marathon, she took 81 seconds off Paula Radcliffe‘s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record, clocking 2:14:04 in Chicago.
Her top competition comes in the form of fellow Kenyans: Ruth Chepngetich, the fourth-fastest female marathoner in history, and four-time Olympic track medalist Vivian Cheruiyot.
Molly Seidel, who made the Tokyo Olympic team by placing second at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Feb. 29, leads the American contingent.
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