The six-year-old Fukuoka Marathon course record could very well fall this Sunday when the world record holder over the distance Dennis Kimetto takes on the defending champion Patrick Makau.
Makau is also a former world record holder and will be keen to fell the fastest marathon runner in history even as he goes for Tsegaye Kebede’s course record of 2 hours 05 minutes 18 seconds.
Other elite runners in the start list include Japan-based Martin Mathathi and Joseph Gitau, champions of 2013 and 2012.
The past winners can also pull surprises since they are familiar with the course.
Kimetto, with a personal best of 2.02.57, that is the world record set last year in Berlin, has already thrown down the gauntlet.
“I am hoping to better my time for this year and most importantly to set a new course record, and I know this is possible if the conditions are right on Sunday,” Kimetto said in a candid interview with Nation Sport in Eldoret.
“Kenyan marathoners are the best runners in the world at the moment. The course record should have been broken by a determined runner from our country. You need enough training and confidence,” said Kimetto
Bernard Koech, one of the most accomplished 21km runners, is also in the line up for the IAAF Gold Label Race.
The 28 year old Koech has a 42km best of 2.04.53 set in the 2013 Dubai Marathon.
“My form is okay this season. I picked up a boil infection in September but it has fully healed, I am hopeful for victory in Fukuoka,” said Koech, who is among world’s best 21km runners with a 58.41 from 2013 Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon.
But Kimetto, a former herds boy, who says his humble background fuels determination for greatness, added that he had fully recovered from the “burnout” that led to his dropping out from last August’s Beijing World Championships race.
“I have come out of the muscle strains and fatigue which were as a result of very hot conditions in Beijing.
The training since coming back from China have been good,” Kimetto ominously stated. The athletes were scheduled to leave for Japan today.