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Kamworor, Keitany headline New York Marathon

Wednesday August 7 2019

Mary Keitany of Kenya poses with her first place medal at the finish line during the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon in Central Park, New York City on November 4, 2018. PHOTO | ELSA |

Mary Keitany of Kenya poses with her first place medal at the finish line during the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon in Central Park, New York City on November 4, 2018. PHOTO | ELSA |  AFP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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Long distance runner Geoffrey Kamworor is ready to reclaim the New York City Marathon title with compatriot Mary Keitany eying a fifth victory in the race goes down November 3 in the American city.

Kamworor, who won in New York City on his second appearance in 2017, said he wants to make his fourth appearance this year memorable.

“New York has always been important to me and I will be targeting victory, having gained enough experience over the distance,” said Kamworor, who finished second in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 48 seconds on his debut in 2015.

Kamworor, who is the two-time World Half Marathon and World Cross Country champion, would claim victory in 2017, romping home in 2:10:53, before settling for third in 2:06:26 last year, losing the battle to Lelisa Desisa, who clocked 2:05:59.

It will be Kamworor’s ninth career marathon, having made his debut at 2011 Berlin Marathon, where he failed to finish, before he was placed third the following year in the same venue in a personal best of 2:06:12.

Kamworor, 26, is the fourth fastest man in the field after Ethiopians- defending champion Lelisa Desisa (2:04:45), Shura Kitata (2:04:49), who finished second last year and Tamirat Tola (2:04:06), who came in third last year.

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Other elite Kenyans in the race are Stephen Sambu (2:11:07), who finished fifth in 2016 and 2017 Chicago Marathon and Albert Korir (2:08:03).

Since making her marathon debut at New York City Marathon in 2010, Keitany has competed at the event six times, winning fourth times. She returned her best time on the course when winning last year in 2:22:48.

Last year, Keitany, 37, became the only other woman to have won in New York four times after Norwegian Grete Waitz, who won the race a record nine times.

Keitany won back-to-back in 2014 (2:25:07), 2015 (2:24:25) and 2016 (2:24:26), lost the title to Shalane Flanagan in 2017 to finish second, before recapturing the crown last year in 2:22:48.

“New York has become a second home to me, and every year I circle the New York City Marathon on my calendar as a date to look forward to,” said Keitany, who has a personal best of 2:17:01 from her victory in 2:17:01 in London in 2017. The time happens to be the new all women’s World Record.

“I’m very excited to return to the race for my fifth title on my favourite course in the world,” said Keitany, who will be running her 13th career marathon in New York.

The only other athletes with sub 2:19 in the women’s race are Ethiopians Ruti Aga (2:18:34), who won the Tokyo Marathon in March this year in 2:20:40 and Worknesh Degefa (2:17:41).

Aga finished second in Tokyo and Berlin Marathon respectively last year and is aiming for her maiden victory in the World Marathon majors.

Degefa will be seeking to wrap up a double this season after her first World Marathon Majors victory in Boston in April this year, having won Dubai Marathon in 2017 to settle second in the same race in January this year.

World Half Marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei, who is making her debut over the distance, Mary Ngugi (2:28:33) and Nancy Kiprop (2:22:12) are the other Kenyan women heading to New York.

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