The Men's Marathon will be competed on the last day of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on the streets of Beijing on August 24.
Stefano Baldini of Italy will face challenges from a strong contingent of African and European athletes when he defends his Olympic Men's Marathon crown.
In the absence of world record holder Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, who chose to run the 10,000m, several runners are favored to challenge for medals in an event that is always difficult to predict.
Two Ethiopians have run under 2 hours 7 minutes. Deriba Merga of Ethiopia has a personal best of 2:06:38, while his teammate 2008 Paris Marathon winner Tsegay Kebede has run 2:06:40.
Martin Lel of Kenya brings this year's fastest time of 2:05:15 into the event. Lel won his third London Marathon in 2008 and has also won the New York Marathon twice. Lel's chances will depend on how well he has recovered from a ligament tear he suffered in his left ankle earlier in the year.
2007 world champion Luke Kibet and world half marathon record holder Samuel Kamau Wanjiru will join Lel in an effort to win Kenya's first Olympic Games gold medal in this event.
Baldini has won bronze in two World Championships in addition to his Olympic Games title.
Mubarak Hassan Shami of Qatar took silver at the 2007 World Championships.
The Men's Marathon competition will start at 7:30 a.m. (UTC/GMT +8) on Sunday, August 24.
(BOCOG August 24, 2008)