Hopes for a world record are very much alive when a stellar cast takes to the streets of the English capital for Sunday’s London Marathon.
World record holder Patrick Makau (two hours, three minutes and 38 seconds), the second fastest runner over the distance and defending champion Wilson Kipsang (2:03.42) and the fastest unofficial marathoner Geoffrey Mutai (2:03.02) all hold their hopes of a world record high.
Also in the field is course record holder Emmanuel Mutai (2:04.40) and Ethiopia’s 2010 winner Tsegay Kebede.
Dutchman Gerard van de Veen, who manages both Kipsang and Mutai, concurs that a very fast time will be run on Sunday, with 25km world record holder Dennis Kimetto (1:11.18) playing the pacemaker’s role for the lead group alongside Wilfred Kirwa and Mike Kigen.
They have been instructed to run at a world record pace of 61:45 at the halfway mark.
“I expect a lead group of up to six to seven runner, including Makau, Kipsang, Mutai and Kebede,” van de Veen said. “I hope the pacemakers do the right job then a world record is possible.”
The women’s race will have a halfway pace of 69:15.
Trained in Iten
Kipsang, who has been training in Iten and Kapng’etuny, said in a pre-race television interview that he was in great shape.
“My training has been good... I will be going for the course record and if the pacemakers are good and can handle the pace, then a world record is possible.” Geoffrey Mutai will be making his debut in London, his brilliant 2:03.02 on Boston’s non-compliant course making him the focus on Sunday.
“The London course is automatically a world record course, a lot easier than New York where I have run 2:05, and Boston,” said Mutai who trains in Kapng’etuny along with Kimetto, Kirwa and, occasionally, Kipsang.
“It’s not easy to beat the world record but I see the chances here as 50-50.”
Makau argues that if the field runs as a team, then his mark, set in Berlin in 2011, would be erased.
“It will need a lot of co-operation and working as a team to run a good time,” he said.