Massive 2:07:37 PB for Teshome Gelana in Houston (Victah Sailer) © Copyright

Gelana the man to beat in Thessaloniki - PREVIEW

Teshome Gelana and Desta Girma Tadesse of Ethiopia will start as the runners to beat at the 6th Alexander the Great Marathon in Thessoloniki, Greece, on Sunday (10).

Gelana's best run to date was his surprise victory at the 2010 Houston Marathon where he clocked a 2:07:37  to take the 'man to beat' role at this IAAF Bronze Label Road Race.

Gelana's chief rivals include Kenyan Benson Cheruiyot who has a 2:11:33 career best from his runner-up position in Houston in 2009. The start list also includes Oleksandr Kuzin of Ukraine, who clocked a strong 2:07:33 in Linz, Austria, in 2007. He's been slowed by injuries since, but did clock 2:10:54 at the 2009 Venice Marathon where he finished fourth. The trio will be gunning for the 2:11:37 course record set by Moses Arusei of Kenya in 2006.

In the women's race, Ethiopian Desta Girma Tadesse, who clocked 2:32:10, at the Xaimen International Marathon in January, will be among the favourites. She'll be facing Svetlana Kouhan of Belarus who has clocked 2:32:18 and Helaria Yohannes of Namibia, who haa a 2:32:30 to her credit.

The women's course record of 2:28:22 was also set in 2006 by Souad Ait Salem of Algeria.

Conditions are expected to he warm on Sunday, but with a relatively cool 12 C in the forecast at the race start.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF