Geoffrey Kamworor warns New York Marathon rivals

Thursday September 14 2017

Geoffrey Kamworor crosses the finish line to win the men's 10km race in the World Cross Country Championships at Kololo ground in Kampala, Uganda on March 26, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Geoffrey Kamworor crosses the finish line to win the men's 10km race in the World Cross Country Championships at Kololo ground in Kampala, Uganda on March 26, 2017. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI
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Two-time World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor has sounded war drums ahead of this year’s New York City Marathon on November 5.

Kamworor, who is also the reigning World Cross Country champion, said he is targeting nothing short of victory on his fifth 42 kilometres race.

Kamworor, the 2015 World 10,000m silver medallist, has been training in Kaptagat alongside Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge among other elite marathoners under coaches Patrick Sang and Richard Metto.

“I am going for victory and nothing else,” said a confident Kamworor, who hopes to put behind the London World Championships disappointment in New York.

On the task that awaits him as he returns to the course where he finished second in 2015 (2:10:48) to compatriot Stanley Biwott (2:10:34), Kamworor said he is used to tough challenges.

“I am used to tough opposition but I am ready to give by best and deliver,” said Kamworor, who predicted a slower race. “We really don’t have fast people to push the field.”

Kamworor, 24, said that he still has sufficient time to prepare after the London World Championships where he settled for a disappointing sixth place in the 10,000m race.

Kamworor will be up against the defending champion, Ghirmay Ghebreslassie of Eritrea, who is also the 2015 World marathon champion and 2016 Boston Marathon champion Lemi Berhanu and Lelisa Desisa, both of Ethiopia.

Desisa finished second at New York City Marathon in 2014 and third in 2015 before failing to finish last year.

Kamworor was on two occasions used as a pacesetter at 2011 Berlin and 2012 Rotterdam Marathon before his full marathon debut at 2012 Berlin. At the 2011 Berlin Marathon, Kamworor pushed Patrick Makau to break the world marathon record in a new time of 2:03:38.

Kamworor clocked 2:06:12 for third place at the 2012 Berlin Marathon in his full marathon debut where Geoffrey Mutai triumphed.

He returned to Berlin in 2013 where he once again settled for third in 2:06:26 as Wilson Kipsang obliterated Makau’s world record with a new mark of 2:03:23 followed by Kipchoge in 2:04:05.

Kamworor was also in the 2014 Berlin Marathon field that saw compatriot Dennis Kimetto break the world record in 2:02:57. Emmanuel Mutai from settled for second place in 2:03:13 followed by Ethiopian Abera Kuma in 2:05:56 and Kamworor (2:06:39) in fourth.

Kamworor won the World Half Marathon title in 2014 Copenhagen before defending it in 2016 Cardiff. He also won the World Cross Country championships in 2015 in China before staging a successful defence last year in Kampala.

Ghebreslassie, 21, became the youngest men’s winner in the history of the New York City Marathon last year, breasting the tape in 2:07:51. He posted the third-fastest winning time in history, and was the first Eritrean winner in the race’s history.

In 2015, he became the youngest winner in the World Championships Marathon history, and his gold medal was Eritrea’s first ever at the event. He was fourth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon and owns a personal best of 2:07:46 from the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon, where he also finished fourth.

Berhanu, 22, won the Boston Marathon in 2016, and has a personal best of 2:04:33 from the 2016 Dubai Marathon, the fastest personal-best time of any professional athlete racing the New York City Marathon this year.

He also won the 2017 Xiamen Marathon, 2015 Dubai Marathon, and the 2014 Zurich Marathon.

Desisa, 27, is the two-time Boston Marathon champion and has a personal best time of 2:04:45 from the 2013 Dubai Marathon.