1 Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot: “The Champion”
All eyes will be on the defending champ, who set a course record last year in 2:05:52. The 22-year-old isn’t related to four-time winner Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, by the way.
2 Ryan Hall: “Captain America”
A 28-year-old Stanford grad, Hall is certain to be a fan favorite today: No American man has won Boston since Greg A. Meyer in 1983. Hall ran 2:08:41 to finish fourth last year, but his offseason was shaky this time.
3 Geoffrey Mutai: “Always a Bridesmaid”
This 26-year-old Kenyan was sharp at Rotterdam and Berlin last year, but finished second both times to Patrick Makau. Lucky for Mutai, Makau isn’t running today.
4 Gebre Gebremariam: “The Natural”
A native of Ethiopia, Gebremariam knows something about running strong in New England:?He won both the Falmouth Road Race and Beach to Beacon 10K last year. He took the 2010 New York Marathon, too.
5 Evans Cheruiyot:“The Other Other Cheruiyot”
Injuries have kept this 28-year-old Kenyan from fulfilling his potential on Boylston Street, but he’s got talent to burn. Consider him a strong dark horse pick.
US threat in the women’s race, too
Today’s women’s Boston Marathon has a Ryan Hall of its own.
Kara Goucher, 32, has a real shot of being the first American female to win Boston since Michigan’s Lisa Larsen Weidenbach in 1985.
The third-place finisher in 2009, Goucher is running her first marathon since the birth of her son in September.
To win, she’ll have to best a deep field, including 2010 champion Teyba Erkesso, returning runner-up Tatyana Pushkareva, super talent Florence Kiplagat and four-time winner Catherine Ndereba.