Farah faces World bronze medalist Paul Tanui, Josphat Bett, Emmanuel Bett, Teklemariam Medhin and World XC champ Geoffrey Kamworor. Other big names in the race include Diego Estrada, Cam Levins, Hassan Mead and Zane Robertson in his track 10K debut.
The world's greatest foot race is Saturday in China (Friday night in the USA) and it should be Kenya vs. Ethiopia for gold with USA battling for bronze on the men's side. Can Eritrea's Teklemariam Medhin, the guy who had a malaria-like disease and slept in the airport two years ago but still got bronze, come out on top?
He won silver in 2010, bronze in 2013 and wants gold in 2015.
Medhin beat out Turkey's Euro XC champ Polat Arikan by 2-seconds with Uganda's WJ 10K champ Joshua Cheptegei a close 3rd. 2014 top steepler Jairus Birech and World 10,000 bronze medalist Paul Tanui were 5-6. In the women's race Bahrain's Ethiopian-born Mimi Belete got a surprising win over 2-time World XC champ Emily Chebet and World 5,000 silver medalist Mercy Cherono.
Medhin beat a deep field that included top 2014 steepler Jairus Birech (2nd), World and 10,000 bronze medalist Paul Tanui (4th). Chebet beat Mercy Cherono, who was leading, but fell behind after a fall.
Also 26:52 man Bedan Karoki and Euro XC champ Polat Kemboi Arikan. Women's race has World 5000 silver medalist Mercy Cherono, 2-time World XC champ Emily Chebet and former World 10,000 champ Linet Masai.
World XC bronze medalist Teklemariam Medhin was 4th while World XC champ Japhet Korir was never a factor and finished a disappointing 18th, 1:26 behind Merga. World XC bronze medalist Belaynesh Oljira won the women's race over Mercy Cherono with Hiwot Ayalew well back in 4th.
Also 2014 5000 world leader Muktar Edris (12:54.83), 2011 world 10,000m champ Ibrahim Jeilan, Albert Rop and Emmanuel Bett. Women's race has World XC medalist Hiwot Ayalew and Belaynesh Oljira and World 5000 silver medalist Mercy Cherono.
Other big names in the half field are Teklemariam Medhin and Ibrahim Jeilan. The men's marathon has 7 sub-2:10 men led by 2:06-man Philip Kimutai. Defending champ Agnes Kiprop (2:23:54) leads the women's marathon. Italian Nadia Ejjafinni has the fastest PR in the women's half field with 68:27.
Ertrea's World XC bronze medalist Teklemariam Medhin was 4th (1:01:17), Kenya’s 2013 World Championships 10,000 bronze medallist Paul Tanui was 7th and Imane Merga was 12th. For the women, Ethiopia's Werknesh Degefa beat Kenya’s Jemima Jelagat by 2-seconds with 1:08:46; Italy’s 2013 World Championships marathon silver medallist Valeria Straneo was 6th (1:09:47).
The men's race was very close as World XC bronze medalist Teklemariam Medhin finished in 28:01 only 1 second behind Bett. World XC champion Japhet Korir was back in 5th (28:41).
2011 World XC champ Merga out-sprinted Kenya’s Emmanuel Bett (10K World leader in 2012) and Eritrea’a 2013 World XC bronze medalist Teklemariam Medhin over the closing 300m to win by 1 second. 2013 World XC champ Japhet Korir was in 6th, 8 seconds back of Merga. On the women's side 2013 World XC silver medalist Ayalew broke away from 3-time World XC silver medalist Linet Masai 600m from the finish to win by 9 seconds. 5000 World silver medalist Mercy Cherono was 5 more seconds back in 3rd.