Normally previewing the Great Eastern Run is straightforward . . . perm any one from three Kenyans and go fo Aaron Scott as top Brit.
That’s not the case this year though with no Kenyan men entered for the big city half-marathon and Stamford-based star Scott choosing to run for his club Lincoln Wellington in the National Road Relays on Saturday instead.
Kenyans have enjoyed Great Eastern Run supremacy for the last seven years but it seems they’ve gone elsewhere this year for their ‘dash for cash’.
That leaves the way clear for a first British winner since Neil Addison in 2009.
Pick of the dozen or so elite (sub 70-minute men) entered appears to be 26 year-old Welshman Michael Kallenberg from Cardiff AC and the RAF.
In 2016 he had five sub 68 clockings and this year he won the Fleet Marathon in March in 67.21 and was third in the Newark Marathon in August in 68.14.
He has a personal best (PB) of 66.48, set when finishing sixth in the star-studded Cardiff Half-Marathon in 2016, and he’s at number 15 in the UK 2017 marathon rankings with his 2:20.0 clocking in Berlin.
The surprise package could be Lucian Allison from Lincoln Wellington. He’s a half-marathon novice and has only been racing for two years. Yet he arrives armed with an impressive PB of 67.45 set when finishing 25th in last month’s Great North Run.
Ben Livesey, a Great Eastern Run regular from Lincoln Wellington AC, has the best PB in the field of 64.38 but that was achieved four years ago. Last year he finished seventh in 68.02.
Just behind him in eighth place 12 months ago was Paul Navesey from Crawley in 68.48 and he’s entered again.
Others in the reckoning for a top-six finish include Thomas Beedell from Woodford Green (2nd in this year’s Brentwood Half-Marathon in 71.39), Damien Carr from Coventry (PB of 70.38) and Ben Savill from Croydon (PB of 70.20).
Peterborough AC pair Ben Heron and John Pike and Bushfield Joggers’ Phil Martin could be the pick of the locals.
The men’s course record stands at 61.40 - set by Kenyan Philip Koech two years ago - and will almost certainly remain intact.
The women’s course record of 72:14 set by Liz Yelling in 2011 could come under threat, however.
That’s because there is a Kenyan on board in the female field.
And although Caroline Nyaguthi will be making her debut over the 13.1-mile distance she is expecting to run between 71 and 73 minutes based on the speedy 32.42 she recorded to finish second in the Swansea 10k last weekend.
Battling it out for second place behind her are likely to be Georgina Schwiening from Cambridge & Coleridge (PB 77.52), Hayley Munn from Winchester (PB 75.37), Jo Coates from Bury St Edmunds (PB 76.45), Sarah Stradling from Colchester (PB 75.15) and Emily Proto from Arena (PB 78.43).