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.
The women’s marathon will be held on Sunday, Aug. 14, beginning at 9:30 a.m. local time (live coverage begins at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBC and NBCOlympics.com). Although it only debuted in 1984, the women’s marathon has a strong Olympic legacy. It has typically taken somewhere in the 2:26-range to land on the podium and earn a medal, however, the bronze medalist in 2012 finished in 2:23:29 after Tiki Gelana (Ethiopia) pushed the race and won in an Olympic record of 2:23:07.
This year Amy Cragg, Shalane Flanagan and Desiree Linden 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.