If you’ve ever run a marathon (or even a half marathon), then you will appreciate how grueling this 26.2-mile event will be in the heat and humidity of Rio. The route is the same for both men and women, starting and finishing in the long, narrow Sambódromo open-air stadium (where Carnival celebrations are held every winter) and sending runners on multiple criterium-style loops along Guanabara Bay.
Sticking with Olympic tradition, the men’s marathon is the very last event in this year’s Olympics, starting at 9:30 a.m. local time (8:30 a.m. ET on NBC and NBCOlympics.com) on Sunday, Aug. 21. The men’s race at the Olympics has been pretty fast over the past two Olympics, with the late Sammy Wanjiru (Kenya) setting the Olympic record of 2:06:32 in 2008 and Stephen Kiprotich (Uganda) winning in 2:08:01 in London four years ago.
This year Galen Rupp, Meb Keflezighi and Jared Ward will represent Team USA for the 26.2-mile event and here’s what you’ll need to know about each of them before watching it.