With his name firmly on the world’s best marathon time, Geoffrey Kiprono Mutai now sees the Olympic Games marathon gold medal in his cross hairs.
The father of one trained hard and used the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Spain last month as his build-up before - spurred on by debutante and compatriot Moses Mosop - blowing his rivals to smithereens.
When he landed at the Eldoret International Airport Thursday, the 29-year-old Mutai, who stunned the world after posting the world’s fastest time over 42 kilometres - two hours, three minutes and two seconds - at the 115th Boston Marathon last Monday, narrated his experience to jubilant relatives, coaches, fellow athletes and journalists.
“The victory and time was no surprise to me as I had trained well and the weather was fitting too. “The course is similar to our hilly training course in Kapng’etuny (in Eldoret East) which is the toughest in the region,” said Mutai, an alumnus of Tuiyotich Primary School in Nakuru.
Kenyan can beat Haile mark
Unfortunately, his world’s best time is not considered the world record since the Boston Marathon course is not sanctioned as being “record legible” by the world’s athletics governing body, the IAAF.
Mutai, who finished fifth at the world cross-country in Spain, said: “If it was that windy, then it could have helped the women too.
“I still believe the weather and my great shape helped me a lot.
“But I am not worried as any other Kenyan can break the 2:03.59 world-record (held by Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie) and only needs our confidence in the struggle.”
Mutai arrived with Sharon Cherop Kiptum, third in the Boston women’s race. Mutai’s wife Beatrice and daughter Mitchel Jebet, as well as training mate Abraham Rotich were also at the airport.
A similar reception was also awaiting the women’s Boston champion Caroline Kilel in her Kericho home later Thursday.
“I will miss the world championships in Daegu since I’m chasing the points for the World Marathon Majors,” said Mutai .
He trains under Dutch manager Gerald Van de Veen of Volare Sports, whose daughter, Hannah Van de Veen, joined the elated crowds at the airport for Mutai’s homecoming Thursday.