Defending champion Lawrence Cherono will come up against stiff competition on Sunday when he lines up in Amsterdam Marathon.
Cherono, who has been training in Kaptagat in Eldoret County, will be in a men’s field that features, among others, Ethiopia’s distance running legend Kenenisa Bekele.
Bekele, considered the greatest distance runner of all time with a Personal Best of two hours, three minutes and three seconds in the marathon which he recorded in the 2016 Berlin Marathon.
“I love training in Kaptagat because it has always given me good environment for training, which has often translated to positive results in all the races I have participated in. The place is cool and training in the forest gives me perfect conditions to prepare for marathon races,” Cherono told Nation Sport in Kaptagat.
The athlete said he was happy to have finished his training programme injury-free and is looking forward to a good race on Sunday.
“My training has gone well and I want to thank God because I have not suffered an injury during training in the last three months I have been here. I’m looking forward to running a good race as I seek to lower my Personal Best,” said Cherono.
Cherono also said he has paid little attention to Bekele’s presence in men’s field, saying the Ethiopian can only help competitors run a quick race.
“We will be competing with Bekele who has a faster time among the contestants but I do not fear him. I believe in my training and will be going for nothing short of winning the race,” added Cherono who is also the Honolulu Marathon champion.
Cherono broke the New York Marathon course record set by his compatriot Daniel Wanjiru in 2016 who clocked two hours, five minutes and 21 seconds, a time Cherono improved to 2:05:09 last year.
Nobert Kigen finished second in 2:05:13 last year, while Abraham Kiptum was in third place after clocking 2:05:26.
In the women’s category, Ethiopia’s Tadelech Bekele won in 2:21:54 ahead of Kenya’s Gladys Chesir who finished in 2:24:51 while Azmera Abreha was third in 2:25:23, completing the podium places.
Cherono, who was seventh in London Marathon this year, said that he had suffered an injury during the race and that led to his poor performance.
“I went to the London Marathon race prepared in April but I picked up an injury during the race which slowed me down hence the poor performance. Personally, I was not impressed about it but I have since healed. I’m now fine and I will be expecting good results,” said the athlete.
The athlete will team up for the race with, among others, Robert Chemosin, Laban Korir, and Gideon Kipketer, all under the Global Sports Communication in Kaptagat.