Thanks to it being de rigueur to be a runner and have a blog these days, I've been able to track down some of the entrants for the World Champs. Looks like it will be very competitive at the pointy end. I'm not in the same ballpark as some of these guys, but it will be great watching some of them sail off into the distance.
The US have an extremely strong team, made up of seasoned trail and road ultra runners. They have the benefit of regularly racing over the 50 mile distance (80k), a popular distance in the imperial system USA. Here are the main contenders:
Giorgio Calcaterra (ITA) - The reigning 100k World Champ, World Ultra Runner of the Year and an astonishing athlete. Just a quick browse on his blog left me pretty speechless. In 2000, he ran 16 marathons under 2:20. He has a marathon PB of 2:13 and a 100k PB of 6:25. He won last year's World Champs by 15 minutes; that's how dominant he is over the distance. Will definitely be the favourite on his home soil.
Mike Wardian (USA) - 2nd at last year's World's; this guy races everything from 100mile trails to marathons dressed as Spiderman. Has a schedule this year that leaves any runner green with envy; Comrades, Western States and UTMB!!! Geesh.
Andy Henshaw (USA) - 3rd at last year's Worlds; young trail runner who likes to run 150 mile weeks in the build up to big races. Yikes!!
Pieter Vermeesch (BEL) - 4th at last year's Worlds; seems to be getting faster the older he gets according to his very detailed progression charts on his blog. Is surprising himself and is harbouring hopes of getting the A qualifier to run for Belgium at the Olympics. Good on him.
So in the meantime have a browse on the linked blogs. Let me know your thoughts on these guys in the comments. I'll add more names to the list once I find out some more info!