Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mutai eyes redemption in London

Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya celebrates after he won the 2013 ING New York City Marathon on November 3, 2013 in New York City. PHOTO/FILE

Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya celebrates after he won the 2013 ING New York City Marathon on November 3, 2013 in New York City. PHOTO/FILE 

By COPPERFIELD LAGAT
More by this Author

It was devastating for Geoffrey Mutai when the IAAF declined to ratify as a World Record, the quickest time of 2.03.20 he set when winning the 2011 Boston Marathon.

A record cannot be endorsed if the finishing point is sloping as it gives an athlete undue advantage. It must be flat and athletes are normally warned in advance.

This is what happened to Mutai in Boston and even though it dampened his spirits, the 2012 World Majors winner says he is already over it as he hopes to bounce back at the London Marathon on April 16.

Mutai who spoke to Nation Sport in Iten said he wants to leave a mark at the race when he lines up against a stellar cast that includes World Record holder Wilson Kipsang and Olympics and world champion Stephen Kiprotich.

Mutai said he is targeting to repeat Boston’s feat in London.

AUTHENTIC RUNNER
“I am ready and I hope to bring out my best performance. I am determined to make a repeat of my Boston performance. I also want to lower my personal best time,” said Mutai, who won the New York Marathon last year.

Mutai said he wants to prove that his performance in Boston was not a fluke. “People have been wondering if my performance in Boston was genuine and that is what I want to dispel when I race in London,” Mutai said.

“People aks why I haven’t repeated the same feat. It hurts when fans question the authenticity of your career’s top results,” Mutai lamented.

However, Mutai, 30, says he has been preparing for the race since last year. This will be one of the most competitive races in the world because it has attracted its biggest names ever since its inception in 1989.

“The quality of competition will be high. That is why I skipped some major events to prepare for London.”

After his scintillating dash in Boston, Mutai attacked the course record and lowered it to 2.05.06, 2.37 minutes faster from Tesfaye Jifar’s ten-year-old record of 2.07.43.

He would drop out while vying to defend his Boston title in 2012. Mutai made his London marathon debut last April.

The 2005 Helsinki World 5,000 meters champion Benjamin Limo is putting his money on Mutai: “Mutai is a dangerous runner and his 2.03.02 should not be taken lightly,” he says.

He is not happy being referred as the unofficial fastest runner over the distance and that is why I believe he’ll be outb to upset everyone in London,” said.

RECORD THREAT

Moses Tanui, a two-time Boston Champion notes that Mutai was upset when his record was not ratified, bearing in mind that Boston is a very challenging course.

“With that anger, he attacked the New York City course record that year and this silently qualifies him as a record threat,” Tanui says.

Mutai, whose legitimate best time stands at 2.04.15 (Berlin 2012) made his marathon debut at Eldoret’s Kass Marathon in 2007 and finished second in 2.12.22 hours.

He beat London marathon course record holder Emmanuel Mutai in 2011 and both Mutai’s are lined up for a rematch in this year’s London race. Mutai (Emmanuel) will be defending his title won in 2011.

World Record holder Wilson Kipsang (2.03.21), Martin Mathathi (2.07.16) and Stanley Biwott (2.05.12) are Kenya’s finest headlining the start list.

2014 london marathon

Elite runners
Wilson Kipsang (KEN), 2:03:23, World-record holder
Emmanuel Mutai (KEN), 2:03:52, London Marathon record holder
Geoffrey Mutai (KEN), 2:04:15, 2013 New York Marathon champion
Martin Mathathi (KEN), 2:07:16, 2013 Fukuoka Marathon champion
Stanley Biwott (KEN), 2:05:12, 2012 Paris Marathon champion
Ayele Abshero (ETH), 2:04:23, 2012 Dubai Marathon champion
Feyisa Lilesa (ETH), 2:04:32, 2011 world bronze medallist
Tsegaye Kebede (ETH), 2:04:38, 2013 London Marathon champion
Marilson dos Santos (BRA), 2:06:34, Two-time New York Marathon champ
Stephen Kiprotich (UGA), 2:07:20, World and Olympic champion
Mo Farah (GBR), Debut, World & Olympic 5,000m & 10,000m champ
Ibrahim Jeilan (ETH), Debut, 2011 World 10,000m champion