Tokyo Marathon defending champion Wilson Kipsang is looking attack the course record at this year’s race set for Sunday.
Kipsang, who ran the fastest time on Japanese soil (2:03:58) on his way to victory last year, has been training in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County ahead of Sunday’s contest.
Nation Sport caught up with him training on Monday before his departure to Japan, where he will team up with other Kenyan elite athletes among them Seoul Marathon champion Amos Kipruto, 2014 Tokyo Marathon champion Dickson Chumba and 2016 Mumbai Marathon champion Gideon Kipketer.
Other Kenyans set for the race are the 2013 Frankfurt Marathon champion, Vincent Kipruto and 2015 Amsterdam Marathon champion Bernard Kipyego.
Kipsang was pleased with his training program and remains confident of retaining the title in the Asian city.
He said reducing the course record was the main target but also admitted that going for the world record is also on his mind.
Kenya’s Dennis Kimeto holds the world marathon record of 2:02:57 set during the 2014 Berlin Marathon.
"I missed out on the world record narrowly last year and I want to see if I can be able to achieve that time on Sunday with my pacemakers," he said.
The Iten-based athlete also tipped Kenyan athletes to sweep all the medals due their experience in such races.
“When you see the line-up, the athletes from Kenya are those in the world beaters list and if all goes well, this will be our race,” said Kipsang.
Interestingly, Kipsang’s brother, Noah Kiprotich will be among the pacemakers for Sunday’s race.
Kiprotich, who has been training alongside Kipsang, is optimistic that he will be able to help his brother lower the course record.
“I’m privileged to be among the top cream of pacemakers in Tokyo and our mission is to help my brother lower the course record and if possible break the world record time,” he said, after a training session with Kipsang at Sing’ore Forest in Elgeyo Marakwet County.
Kiprotich, 29, has been participating in road races and has a personal best of 60:25 achieved at last year’s Udine Half marathon triumph in Italy.
He revealed that he is following in his brother’s footsteps and hopes to succeed him when he eventually retires.
“Athletics is fun and I love running every day because it’s my life and I want to achieve the success that my brother has,” said Kiprotich.