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Lelisa Desisa, 27, Ethiopia
Marathon silver medallist at the 2013 world championships. PB is 2:04:45 set at the 2013 Dubai Marathon.
Eliud Kipchoge, 32, Kenya
Last year's Olympic marathon gold medallist and former 5,000m world champion, the Kenyan has won seven of his eight marathons. His best of 2:03:05 is the third-fastest in history.
Zersenay Tadese, 35, Eritrea
Owns the men's half marathon world record (58:23) and won Olympic bronze in 10,000m at 2004 Athens Games. Personal best is 2:10:41 set at the 2012 London Marathon.
The sub-two hour attempt consisted of about 17 laps on a 2.4km loop that forms part of the Monza F1 track in northern Italy. It was selected due to a combination of environmental factors, including average temperature, air pressure and wind levels. The surface, with no kerbs or cambers, was also considered optimal.
Johnny Haynes at 1908 London Olympics
The American's victory, in front of the King of England's royal box, was the first marathon conducted over the now official distance of 42.195km.
Albert Michelsen at 1925 Port Chester Marathon in New York
The plumber from Stamford, Connecticut, was the first man to run below 2:30.
Sohn Kee Chung at the 1935 Tokyo Marathon
The Korean became the first Asian to hold the marathon world record. He went on to win gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Leonard Edelen at the 1963 Polytechnic Marathon in England
The American was based in England for several years and became the first man to post a sub-2:15 time. He was elected to the US' National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2016.
Derek Clayton at the 1967 Fukuoka Marathon in Japan
The Australian was the first man to break the 2:10 barrier and then lowered his world record two years later in Antwerp by more than a minute with a 2:08:33 effort.
Paul Tergat at the 2003 Berlin Marathon
A two-time Olympic silver medallist (10,000m), the Kenyan took a momentary wrong turn near the finish but still won the race in Berlin and was the first to go under 2:05.
Dennis Kimetto at the 2014 Berlin Marathon
The Kenyan averaged 4min 41.5sec for each mile as he broke the world record. He is the only man with a sub-2:03 time and his effort was 26sec faster than the previous world record of 2:03:23 set by compatriot Wilson Kipsang at the 2013 Berlin Marathon.