Defending champion Peter Sherry of Great Falls highlights one of the deepest Marine Corps Marathon men's fields in recent years. In addition to three Michigan-based professionals -- Carl Rundell, Terry Shea and Bob Busquaert -- the men's field is expected to include two former champions: 2002 winner Christopher Juarez of San Antonio and 1999 champion Mark Croasdale, a Royal Marine based in Lancaster, England.

Other potential threats include Retta Feyissa of the Bronx, an Ethiopian native who ran with Juarez until the 20th mile in 2002; and Chris Farley and Craig Vanderoef, college teammates at Virginia who plan to work together tomorrow. Sherry, meantime, will attempt to become the first back-to-back champion since Jim Hage in 1988-89.

On the women's side, no one seems likely to approach Heather Hanscom's blazing time of 2 hours 37 minutes 59 seconds from last year. Arlington's Mary Kate Bailey, a 1998 Naval Academy graduate who won last month's Annapolis Ten Mile Run, ran last year's marathon six weeks after giving birth and figures to be one of the first women finishers tomorrow.

She could be challenged by fellow Marine Jenny Ledford of Pensacola, Fla. and two runners sponsored by Brooks: Connie Buckwalter of Pennsylvania and Machelle Cochran of San Antonio.

-- Dan Steinberg