The 2016 World Half Marathon silver medallist Bedan Karoki will be gunning for his maiden victory as he makes his debut at this year’s Chicago Marathon due October 7 in the United States.
It will be Karoki’s career fourth marathon, having finished third at last’s London Marathon on his debut over the distance with a personal best of 2 hours, 07 minutes and 41 seconds.
Karoki, who settled for fourth place in the Fukuoka Marathon last year, before returning to London this year for a fifth place finish in 2:08:34, said he will also be targeting a sub 2:05 time.
Karoki had prepared for this year's London Marathon in April by winning the Ras al-Khaimah Half Marathon in a personal best and fourth fastest time over the distance of 58:42 on February 9 in Dubai.
“I know it’s a strong field but I have gained experience in the past three marathons, having been to London twice for a top five finish,” said Karoki, who arrived in the country a fortnight ago from his base in Japan.
“I resumed training in June after a month’s break from the London race,” explained Karoki from Nyahururu, where he is shaping up under coach Francis Kamau.
Karoki will be trying to reclaim the title Kenya lost to Galen Rupp, who became the first American to win the Chicago Marathon title since Moroccan-born Khalid Khannouchi in 2002.
Kenyans had won the competition for four consecutive years; current World Marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto (2013), Eliud Kipchoge (2014), Dickson Chumba (2015) and the 2009 and 2011 World marathon champion Abel Kirui (2016).
Karoki will face-off with Chumba (2:04:32) and Kirui (2:05:04), who are also looking to recapture the title against a star-studded field that also includes 2017 World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui (2:06:27), who won the Boston Marathon last year, before relinquishing his title to finish second this year.
Other Kenyans in the race are Kenneth Kipkemoi, Paul Lonyangata, Stephen Sambu and Augustine Choge.
Mosinet Geremew and Birhanu Legese from Ethiopia will bring both youth and speed to a competitive international field that also has Mo Farah from Great Britain and Yuki Kawauchi and Suguru Osako of Japan.
Chumba set his personal best of 2:04:32 in Chicago in 2014, when he finished third on a historic day that witnessed three of the top five times ever run in Chicago.
Chumba came back to win in 2015 and tried to defend his title in 2016, but came up three seconds short, finishing second to Abel.
Abel literally danced across the finish line when he won his first major in Chicago in 2016, defeating a strong field in a tactical race.
Abel returned last year to defend his title, but he failed to match Rupp’s kick at the end.
The consistent Abel finished fourth in London to commence his 2018 season, and he owns a personal best of 2:05:04.
Geremew started 2018 with a bang, breaking the course record in Dubai and posting a fresh personal best, 2:04:00.