|Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge passes the finish line of the Marathon Rotterdam, on April 13, 2014. 29 years-old Kipchoge won the race in 2.05.00. AFP PHOTO/ANP KOEN VAN WEEL netherlands out (L)Commonwealth Winner of 10, 000M race Florence Kiplagat cross the line to win Women Category of the 1st Edition of County Pension Fund, CPF, Nairobi Diamond 10KM Run after clocking 31:42.0 at Uhuru Park on Sunday, August 17th, 2014. Photo/Jonah Onyango.|
Kenya's marathon runners jetted out of the country yesterday in hunt for glory in Sunday's Chicago Marathon.
Rotterdam Marathon winner Eliud Kipchoge and women's defending champion Rita Jeptoo will lead Kenya's assault at the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.
The Chicago showpiece, which comes barely two weeks after Dennis Kimetto smashed the world record at the Berlin Marathon is expected to produce another tongue-wagging show.
Kipchoge, 29, has won two of his three marathons since his debut in Hamburg in 2013. He will test the might of Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, who won the Paris Marathon last April.
The shy-looking Kipchoge, with a 2:04.05 all-time mark he posted in Berlin in 2013, needs to be at his best to stop his long-term track rival Bekele. The Ethiopian has dared to lower Dennis Kimetto's Chicago Marathon course record of 2:03.45 in what will be his second marathon ever.
Incidentally, Kipchoge and Bekele are under Jose Hermens' Global Sports Communications based in Nijamen, The Netherlands.
"I have prepared well. I hope I can improve on my personal best if the weather conditions will be favourabe," he told FeverPitch yesterday before leaving for Chicago.
"I do well in flat courses and expect to replay the same in Chicago. Such flat courses work well with my running style since I don't burn out," said Kipchoge.
He, however, insisted he is still a green-horn in marathon despite podium finishes in three marathons - Hamburg, Berlin, Rotterdam.
"I now belong to the three-man club which also includes Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) and Paul Tergat. I have joined these men who are the only to have run the 5,000m distance in sub 12:50.
"But I am like a small child crawling and trying to stand up in marathon. I will train with the passion and you never know I might be the next to lower the world record in future and only time will tell," said Kipchoge.
The Rotterdam marathon champion will not be turning 30 until November 5, but seems to have been present in athletics circles for ever. Kipchoge moved into full-time athletics after completing Form Four at Kaptel Boys High School in Nandi County back in 2002.
He made his debut with an impressive 2:05.30 run at the Hamburg Marathon in April 2013 before he took the runners-up slot at the Berlin Marathon in 2013, clocking 2:04.05, in a race Wilson Kipsang set a world record of 2:03.23 and won in Rotterdam Marathon last April in 2:05.00. He will team up with Sammy Kitwara, Dickson Chumba and his training partner Bernard Koech.
Rita Jeptoo, who tops the WMM board with 75 points, is keen not to let go the share of the $1million prize purse in Chicago Marathon. Florence Kiplagat, who will also compete in Chicago, has 40 points.
"I want to ensure that I consolidate enough points for the WMM series in Chicago," said Jeptoo.
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