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Karoki to step up pursuit for elusive gold in Tokyo Marathon

Tuesday February 5 2019

2016 World Half Marathon silver medallist Bedan Karoki displays some of his championships medals at his home in Kibiku, Ngong on February 4, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

2016 World Half Marathon silver medallist Bedan Karoki displays some of his championships medals at his home in Kibiku, Ngong on February 4, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

AYUMBA AYODI
By AYUMBA AYODI
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The 2016 World Half Marathon silver medallist Bedan Karoki is tired of playing second fiddle.

The athlete from Nyandarua has now set his sights on winning either marathon or 10,000m title at the World Championships set for October 1-6 this year in Doha, Qatar.

However, Karoki - the 2015 World Cross Country silver medallist - said his participation in marathon will hinge on a good performance at Tokyo Marathon slated for March 3 in Japan.

“I really want to make the marathon team for Doha but if Tokyo Marathon doesn’t fall in place for me I shall turn my focus on making my fourth appearance in 10,000m at the global event,” said Karoki.

Karoki, who has stepped up his training, alternating between Eldoret, Ngong, Nairobi and Nyahururu, has only one medal from the 10,000m, the silver he got from the 2011 Maputo African Games.

Karoki, 28, made his maiden World Championship appearance in 2013 Moscow where he finished fifth in 10,000m before settling for fourth at 2015 Beijing and 2017 London respectively.

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Karoki hinted change of tact as he targets his first marathon victory in Tokyo on his fifth appearance over the distance. 

“I have always had a fast-paced first phase of my marathon races but I want to change my approach this time around to slow pace,” said the father of two. “I have the much needed experience in marathon and I hope for a breakthrough this time around.”

Karoki explained after his workout in Ngong Forest on Monday that he has done a lot of endurance and is now concentrating on speed polishing.

“I only have silver medals and it’s a high time I win that precious gold medal me it on track or road,” said Karoki, who works for Dena Company in Japan.

Karoki said he will be at great advantage in Tokyo since it’s like his second home, having lived in Japan for the last 12 years.

“I know the weather quite well…the temperatures are mild this time of the year and I hope to take advantage of it. I will be happy to run a sub 2:05 hours,” said Karoki, who has personal best 2:07:41.

Tokyo Marathon is the opening leg of the World Marathon Majors where Karoki will be up against compatriot and two times defending champion Dickson Chumba and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele among others.

Karoki claimed personal best 2:07:41 to finish third on his marathon debut in London in 2017, losing the battle to compatriot Daniel Wanjiru, who won in 2:05:48.

Karoki followed it up with a fourth place finish in Fukuoka the same year in 2:08:44 before returning to London last year to finish fifth in 2:08:34. He could have finished ninth in Chicago in 2:07:59 but failed to complete the race in Fukuoka last year owing to a tendon injury.

Karoki said he has always enjoyed running on track and he will be glad to make a return since his last assignment in 2017 London. “I will make a few adjustments in training for track since I still have the speed,” explained Karoki.

Karoki has also put up a credible show in half marathon races since his debut over the distance at 2014 Lisbon winning the 2018 Ras al-Khaimah Half Marathon in a course record time of 58:42, which is the sixth fastest time ever.

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