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Kenya's New York marathon champs Mutai ready to answer London calling

English.news.cn   2014-02-15 07:43:45

By John Kwoba

NAIROBI, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- There is a first time for everything and world fastest marathon runner Geoffrey Mutai will be doing just that when he lines up at the streets of London on April 13.

While majority of the elite runners will be eyeing different ambitions in this mission, Mutai will be just keen to finish, yes fastest.

"This is a new challenge for me. I have never run in London, but of course it is because, it always attracted the big names, and now I am happy to make that role of honour," said Mutai, Friday in Eldoret.

At stake will be two things, the 100,000 U.S. dollars prize money and a chance to add another 50,000 dollars in time bonus.

Therefore at whatever cost, the reasons behind Mutai's quest for a fast run in London will be pegged on conquering the field and the two hours, three minutes and 52 seconds course record, set two years ago by compatriot Emmanuel Mutai.

Though the two share the same last name, they have nothing in common, apart from being favourites in any marathon race. London is calling and Geoffrey Mutai will answer.

"You can surely brand it a Mutai battle. But there are other top runners to consider, some who have run world records elsewhere or conquered the London course," said Geoffrey Mutai.

"But for me, it's a major challenge because it is a first one. I hear it has many turns and it also gives me a chance to silence the critics by winning the biggest race that has the biggest stars. "

After winning Boston marathon in 2010 in a course and world fastest time of 2:03.02, but same was not ratified by IAAF because Boston course is not ratified for world records, Mutai will face the world best with clear mind, set a course record and if it comes with a world record, then so be it.

Geoffrey Mutai, 32, holds a personal best time of 2:04:15, which he set in New York City Marathon last year.

"I can run faster, but that will be dependent on the weather and the calibre of opposition, not to mention what tactics they will deploy. But I run my own race and am ready to make the run," he said.

It is the same for Emmanuel Mutai, the London marathon silver medallist.

"I do not focus on the strength of the opposition whenever I compete. It is about my preparations and focus. Last year, I lost out and am ready to reclaim my title back," said Emmanuel Mutai said on Friday in Eldoret.

"It will be the seventh time that I will be running London Marathon and I believe I have mastered the course. But every race is a challenge and this is no different."

"I made mistakes last year and it cost me the title. I will not repeat the same and am really focused on surprising my opponents," he said.

But they will not be the only one eyeing the gold. World marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang is also focused on setting a new course record.

"It is hard to break the world record in London. So what I plan is to set a new course record and hopefully, I will travel back to Berlin to try and lower down the world mark in September," Kipsang told Xinhua Tuesday in Iten.

Kipsang broke the world record when he won last September's Berlin Marathon in 2:03:23. He will be keen to regain the London Marathon title he won in 2012 just a few months before claiming the bronze medal at the London Olympics.

"It is true I want my London marathon title back. There are no doubts about that, but it will all depend on the level of fitness of the other opponents. I will focus on what I can do and the rest I will leave the legs to do the talking," he said.

Kipsang was fifth in last year's race when Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia triumphed in London for the second time. The Ethiopian came from behind in a dramatic finish to regain the crown he first won in 2010.

Kebede is the sole non-Kenyan to win the men's race in the last 10 years and his aim in 2014 is to become the fourth man to win the title three times.

Kebede ran his personal best of 2:04:38 to win the 2012 Chicago Marathon and he clinched the 2012/13 half-million dollar World Marathon Majors prize when he was second in the New York City Marathon last November.

The second quickest man in the field is Emmanuel Mutai who set the course record when he won the London Marathon in 2011.

The Kenyan looked odds on to win again last year until Kebede overtook him in the final mile. Mutai was runner-up again in last October's Chicago Marathon when he clocked 2:03:52, behind Dennis Kimetto, to become the fourth fastest man of all time.

But there is a new twist in this year's line up. Britain will cheer for their own and World 10,000m Champion Mo Farah, who glides from track to marathon on his debut in London this April.

Farah, who is training in Eldoret, confirms athletics' eternally changing order. Throw in Olympic and world marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich, Feyisa Lilesa, the 2011 world bronze medallist, Stanley Biwott, the 2012 Paris Marathon champion who was eighth in London last April, and Martin Mathathi, winner of the 2013 Fukuoka Marathon.

The field also includes Marilson dos Santos of Brazil, the two- times New York champion who was fourth in 2011.

Editor: Shen Qing
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