With three former victories to his name in this competition and still going strong at 39, Bernard Lagat will be a sentimental favourite to retain his 3000m title. But he’ll have to go through Kenyan Caleb Ndiku to get it.
Ndiku is the world indoor champion over the distance, this season’s world leader at 7:31.66 from Ostrava in June, and the African and Commonwealth 5000m champion. He’s 3-0 against Lagat this year and won his most recent outing, the Zurich 5000m, to secure a narrow victory in the Diamond Race trophy hunt.
For his part, Lagat took silver behind Ndiku at the World Indoor Championships, has a 7:38.30 season’s best, and tuned up for Marrakech with a 13:06.68 run in the Berlin 5000m where he finished second. He also won the 5000m four years ago in Split and the 1500m in Madrid a dozen years ago when Ndiku was just nine years old.
They’ll both need to remain aware of Nick Willis who’s illustrated record-setting form twice this season, first with a 7:36.91 national record over 3000m in Ostrava in mid-June and again a month later in the Monaco 1500m where he clocked a 3:29.91 Oceania record.
The field also includes Aweke Ayalew from Bahrain, who has 13:05.00 5000m credentials from 2013; Hayle Ibrahimov of Azerbaijan, the European silver medallist over 5000m with a 7:34.57 PB set in 2013; and Abrar Osman of Eritrea, 20, the 5000m bronze medallist at the African Championships.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF