MORE than 400 runners will toe the line in Hobart's Cadbury Marathon on Sunday making it the largest marathon field ever assembled in Tasmania.
Among them are some of the elite distance athletes from around Australia for the first big Australian marathon of 2013, with Australian sporting royalty Cathy Freeman taking on the challenge of running her first marathon.
More than 2100 competitors will take part in Sunday's races in distances from the junior one- kilometre through to the 42.5-kilometre main race.
There are entrants from Afghanistan, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and the USA, plus 700 from interstate. Canberra's Matthew Fenech is relatively new to the marathon distance, but successful runs over both the half and full distances in 2012 put him in good position for 2013. Clocking times around the twohours, 20-minute mark Fenech, who is training partners with London Olympian Marty Dent, is expected to be in the lead pack for Sunday's marathon.
Barry Keem has been quick over marathon distance for nearly a decade and is another of the favourites to take out the main event, with Ethiopian-born Ashber Germa, now living and training in Melbourne, another one to watch.
The Cadbury Marathon also doubles as the Tasmanian full and half marathon championships.
The half marathon has attracted 112 entries from around the country.
The Cadbury Marathon will be supporting the Tasmanian Bushfire Appeal. Please see www.cadburymarathon.com.au for more details.
Sunday's event includes four races - Race times: Marathon 6am, half marathon 7am, 5km race 9am, junior 1km, 10am.