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Farah to line up for first marathon

Olympic hero Mo Farah is today expected to line up for his first London Marathon as the most backed in the history of the race.

The 31-year-old, a two-time Olympic medallist, is installed as one of the favourites to complete the 26.2-mile capital course ahead of the rest.

He will join the likes of last year’s winner Tsegaye Kebede and runner-up Emmanuel Mutai from Kenya for the route, which will also have a strong women’s field as well as famous faces.

Farah has been installed at 6/1 by bookmakers William Hill to cross the finishing line in front, with Kenyan former winner Wilson Kipsang having the shortest odds (2/1).

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said: “Mo will almost certainly start as the best-backed runner in the history of the marathon and we will have to hope that he does not win on his debut.”

Steve Jones’ British record of two hours, seven minutes and 13 seconds, which has stood since 1985, is Farah’s primary target. He will be wearing a white vest with blue shorts.

The race’s pacemaker, Haile Gebrselassie, has been instructed to set up a world record attempt.

Current women’s title holder Priscah Jeptoo from Kenya is favourite to take tape in the women’s race.

Paralympic champion David Weir, nicknamed the “Weirwolf”, will be looking to become the greatest wheelchair racer in the event’s history by winning his seventh title. The Team GB athlete equalled Tanni Grey-Thompson’s record of six in 2012, but finished fifth last year.

American Tatyana McFadden, fresh from winning a cross-country skiing silver medal at last month’s Winter Paralympics in Sochi, is the hot favourite to take the women’s title.

Celebrities taking part will include former Liverpool and England striker Michael Owen, Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer, and Michelin-star chef Michel Roux Jr.

Rowers Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins will push the famous red button at the start line on Shooters Hill to send the 36,000 runners and wheelchair racers on their way.

Grainger and Watkins, who together won the women’s double sculls gold at the 2012 Olympic Games, are both running the London Marathon themselves this year.

The races start at Blackheath and Greenwich Park from 8.55am and end on The Mall. Road closures will be in force and there will be delays to some public transport.

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