"This is going to be a fast race,'' said Olga Kovpotina of Ukraine.
Kovpotina is the top runner in the women's field. She and Poland's Dorota Gruca have both finished the 26.2 mile distance in under 2 1/2 hours.
On the men's side, seven runners have finished a marathon in 2:11 or better. One of the elites, Kenya's Philip Kibitok Metto, predicted the first-place finisher will cross the line in 2:13 or better.
Gabriel Muchiri of Kenya, last year's winner, came in at 2:17:21. He did not return to run in this year's race.
"They have good runners here,'' Metto said. "Fresh runners from Kenya."
Don't forget about the Ethiopians. The men's elite field is comprised of nearly all Kenyans and Ethiopians, who have run against each other for years in premier races all over the world.
Elite runners will finish off their personal bests due to the altitude, which can add up to five seconds-per-mile. But they could make up some of that time on a course that's almost all downhill. A 600-foot decline in elevation with just two minor hills makes for an easy go for a downhill runner.
"I like to run downhill,'' Kovpotina said.
Marathoner Joan Benoit Samuelson, an Olympic gold medal winner, is the official starter. Even she's predicting quick times.
"We are going to be treated to a very fast race,'' Samuelson said. "The weather is supposed to be good at 7 a.m. [today] and the times should be fast."