Reigning London Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge faces strong competition both from his fellow Kenyans and Ethiopians as he seeks to retain his title on Sunday.
On paper, the world record holder and reigning Berlin Marathon champion is the overwhelming favourite. The athlete, who holds the World Marathon Record of 2 hours, 01 minute and 38 seconds he clocked in Berlin Marathon last year, has been tipped to retain his title.
He will be competing against 2017 London Marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru, former world record holder Wilson Kipsang and world half marathon record holder Abraham Kiptum.
Six years ago, Kipchoge competed in 2013 Berlin Marathon with Kipsang, coming second behind his compatriot. Since then, he has won virtually every single race he has participated in.
Specifically, Kipchoge has won 10 of his 11 marathon races he has participated and it appears he is not done yet.
On Sunday, he will be seeking to become the first man to win the race four times. Last year Kipchoge won the race after running in 2:04:17 ahead of Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata who clocked 2:04:49. Great Britain’s Mo Farah came third in 2:06:21.
Kipchoge, who has been training in Kaptagat in Elgeyo Marakwet County, has told Nation Sport he is well prepared for the battle that awaits him on Sunday as he seeks to win the title for the fourth time.
“The field is rich. I can’t ignore the other competitors because I know they have a mission and they have trained well ahead of the race. I’m not chasing a record this time. I’m just going out there to run and to try and retain my title,” the Olympics marathon champion said.
Kipchoge, who is the second Kenyan to win Olympics marathon title after the late Samuel Wanjiru, said that he loves training in Kaptagat which offers him a conducive environment to prepare adequately for races.
“I love Kaptagat due to the good weather which has always delivered good results for me. Training in the forest has good feeling. I train at the camp for six days and go home for a day,” said the athlete who also holds the course record.
Also in men’s field is Kipsang who has a Personal Best of 2:03:13, Ethiopians Mosinet Geremew (2:04:00), Gebreselassie Leule (2:04:02), Tamirat Tola (2:04:06), and Shura Kitata (2:04:49). Chicago Marathon champion Mo Farah, with a personal best of 2:05:11, will also compete.