NAIROBI, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Moses Masai, the former world 10,000m bronze medallist, said he would skip the Africa Cross Country Championships in Kampala in March so as to run at the Boston Marathon.
After an unspectacular debut of 2:11:00 at last year's Dubai Marathon, the 28-year-old Masai believed he had taken off well from the blocks.
However, he suffered a setback in his second marathon in Frankfurt, where very windy conditions saw him fail to finish.
Now keen to shake off his rust and return to his impervious form, Masai could be set for a breakthrough in the marathon in Boston and a fast finishing time is top on his agenda.
"Time is essential for me. I want run fast and Boston offers the best course for me, against some of the biggest names," Masai told Xinhua, Tuesday in Iten.
"I have had some troubles with my tendon and it is now much better. I want to test it on Saturday during the Kenya Police Cross Country Championships in Nairobi and then see how it reacts to different challenges in a competitive meet.
"But I have no intensions of running at the Africa Cross Country Championships in Kampala in March. I will give it a bye and instead focus on getting myself in that prime shape for the battle in Boston streets in April."
That will put him in a coalition course with Tokyo and Chicago Marathon champion Dennis Kimetto, who is managing to become the first man to run under the two hours and three minutes mark.
His training mate, Geoffrey Mutai, the New York Marathon Champion, holds the fastest time of 2:03.02, which he set in Boston in 2011, but IAAF, the athletics world governing body, could not ratify it as a world record because of the steep nature of the Boston Marathon course.
Masai's omission from the Kenya team to the Africa Cross Country Championships will however not weaken the East African country onslaught.
For the men's 12km distance, even the blind will be able to sense the adrenaline rush in the minds of the competitors.
Moses Masai, who is back from a tendon injury, will not be seeking a soft landing when he leads the Presidential Escort team onslaught.
"I have to test myself in this race. I have been out for sometime and this is perfect stage for me to shake off the rust.
"I am training for the Boston Marathon and competing at the Africa Cross Country Championships is not an option for me. But I have a duty to defend my department in the Police Championships and I will let the legs do the talking," he said.
But when you throw in the silk of Asbel Kiprop, Nyanza's Wilson Kipsang, the world marathon record holder, world's fastest marathon runner Geoffrey Mutai of CID, Titus Mbishei, Josephat Bett, Isaiah Kiplangat and a horde of upcoming athletes, then even the steel of Masai will be shaken.
His sister Linet Masai will however be missing from the action on Saturday. Linet, who was third in Monday's 57th Campaccio cross-country race in Milan, Italy, will not be back in Nairobi until next week.
"My sister is in Milan and is not expected back until next week," said Moses Masai.
Police coach Joshua Chelanga said the championships still oozes class and likened it to the national championships.
"Masai called me last week and asked for special permission to skip the police championships, because she had contractual obligation to honour the IAAF circuit in Europe.
"We discussed it and agreed that she will compete in the national championships. Other athletes who are injured have also been excused including David Rudisha, who will only be around to cheer his peers.
"But the contest will be difficult to all. Big names will parade here and they will momentarily forget the titles they have picked across the globe and will pull on jerseys reflecting their true identity with the police force," said Chelanga.
In the absence of Masai Linet, former Dubai marathon silver medallist Lucy Wangui Kabuu will stick her foot out to challenge the world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat and Berlin marathon champion Florence Kiplagat.