World marathon bronze medallist Amos Kipruto is planning to lower his personal best time and perhaps break the course record on his second appearance at Tokyo Marathon on Sunday.
Kipruto, who ran his personal best of two hours, five minutes and 43 seconds when finishing fourth at the 2017 Amsterdam Marathon, believes a good show in Tokyo should set a good stage for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Former world marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang holds the course record time of 2:03:58 set in 2017.
Another fast time on the course was set last year by Ethiopian Birhanu Legese, who won the race in 2:04:48.
“I am expecting a pretty fast race with a possibility of the field breaking the 2:03 barrier,” said Kipruto, who is determined to finish in a better podium place than in 2018 when he settled third in 2:06:33, a race won by compatriot Dickson Chumba in 2:05:30.
READY TO BATTLE
“I have really trained well since claiming bronze at the World Championships last year and I feel ready to battle,” explained Kipruto, who has been training in Kapsabet with the 2Running team under Italian coach Claudio Berardelli.
“I know the field will go at a great pace but my plan is to beat my personal best for a possible victory.
“I am ready to fight,” said Kipruto, adding that the weather in the Japanese capital will play a big role at the end results.
“The weather is somewhat cold fluctuating between 11 and five degrees centigrade now but it should be much warmer on Sunday with the prediction between 15 and six centigrade.”
Kipruto, who will be running his 11th career marathon, having failed to finish on debut at Dubai Marathon in 2016, has not competed since his bronze medal exploits at the World Championships in Doha last year.
It will be his third World Marathon Majors race, having finished third at 2018 Tokyo before chalking a second place finish at 2018 Berlin Marathon where compatriot Eliud Kipchoge set a new world marathon record of 2:01:39. Kipruto returned a time of 2:06:23 with Kipsang wrapping up the podium place in 2:06:48.
Kipruto leads a strong squad from Kenya that comprises two-time winner Dickson Chumba, who finished third last year behind Legese and compatriot Bedan Karoki.
Karoki, who is based in Japan, is also in the field alongside African Games Half Marathon champion Titus Ekiru, who won the Honolulu and Lisbon Marathons last year.
Kipruto is in the Kenyan marathon team for the Tokyo Olympic Games that has Kipchoge and Lawrence Cherono with Ekiru and Karoki as the reserves.
Tokyo Marathon organisers have drastically reduced the number of participants for this year’s race out of fear of the spread of the coronavirus coming from China.
The general public is being barred from the race that will now be limited to a few hundred elite participants.
The Tokyo Marathon is the city’s annual race and is not to be confused with the Olympic marathon that will take place during the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The Olympic marathon will be held in the northern city of Sapporo that will be much cooler than the hot Tokyo.