Chicago Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge has predicted that this year’s London Marathon set for April 26 will be the most interesting and perhaps the toughest in world’s marathon history.
Kipchoge, who will be running his fifth marathon race in London, said he expects a tense but absorbing battle, what with five athletes having some of the fastest times in the world in the mix.
“Everybody will be gunning for victory and I won’t be surprised if the winning time falls below the course record time (2hours, 04 minutes and 27 seconds),” said Kipchoge, who has stepped up training in Kaptagat ahead of the race. “This is a race everybody is eagerly waiting for.”
THIRD FASTEST TIME
Former World marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang, who holds the third fastest time in the world, won last year’s London Marathon in a course record time of 2:04:27.
With Kipsang and current world marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto (2:02:57) in the strong field of 10 elite athletes in the race, Kipchoge said anything can happen as far as the world or course record is concerned.
Also in the field are Ethiopians Ayele Abshero (2:04:23) and Kenenissa Bekele (2:05:04) and Kenya’s Emmanuel Mutai (2:03:13).
It’s Kimetto, who broke Kipsang’s world record of 2:03:23, when he became the first men to run under two hours and three minutes, winning last year’s Berlin Marathon in 2:02:57.
“I have not been to London and I have no clue how the course looks like but what I am sure of is that anything can happen, considering the rich field,” said the 30-year-old Kipchoge, who is out to be part of the big story if a new script is written on the streets of London.
“I believe I am now ripe and mature for the big stage after learning a lot in the past four marathon races.”
Kipchoge was full of praise for his rivals as they head to big battle on the streets of London.
“I am sure everybody is training hard for the race, hoping not only for victory but also to improve on their personal best times,” said Kipchoge.
Having won eight medals for Kenya from major international events, including the 2003 World 5,000m title and 2008 Olympic silver medal, Kipchoge made a near-perfect transition to the longer distance races at the 2013 Hamburg Marathon.
He clocked 2:05:30 on his marathon debut to win the race, beating the field by over two minutes and setting a new course record.
Then, Kipchoge would take on his first major race at the 2013 Berlin Marathon, hoping to improve his 2:05:30 personal best from the Hamburg Marathon.
Despite finishing second in 2:04:05, he clocked his personal best, besides running the fifth fastest time in history behind Wilson Kipsang who set a World Record in the marathon.
Come last year, Kipchoge hit the road strongly.
He chalked an impressive win at the Rotterdam Marathon in 2:05:00 before claiming his third victory in Chicago. Kipchoge broke away from Sammy Kitwara and Dickson Chumba at the 25th mile and never looked back en route to his first major marathon victory.
Kipchoge’s time of 2:04:11 is the third fastest ever in Chicago and is 26 seconds shy of Kimetto’s course record of 2:03:45 from the previous year.