|Wilson Kipsang battles in the 2013 Berlin Marathon Berlin in Germany. [PHOTO: COURTESY]|
Reigning London Marathon champion Wilson Kipsang (left) must win next week’s TCS New York City Marathon to get a share of Sh87 million World Marathon Majors series jackpot.
Kipsang, who is placed third in the WMM standings with 51 points, needs to be at his best to collect 25 points and crown the huge prize purse in the Big Apple.
World marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto (75 points) and Tsegaye Kebede (55 points) top the 2013/2014 male WMM leaderboard.
Kipsang, who will make his debut in the New York City Marathon, will certainly find no difficulty competing in the hilly New York course for he was born and bred in the rocky Muskut village in Kerio Valley.
He trains alongside Kimetto and Geoffrey Mutai, a two-time winner at the New York City Marathon, at Kapng’etuny Athletics Club, which is the training base for marathon trailblazers.
The name Kapng’etuny incidentally means “a lions’ den” in Kalenjin language, and has no doubt churned out three world’s fastest marathoners - Dennis Kimetto (2:02.57), Geoffrey Mutai (2:03.02) and Wilson Kipsang (2:03.23).
But Kipsang and Mutai, who train under Dutch manager Gerard Van de Veen, want to lower the course record of 2:05.06 that Mutai set in 2011.
Stanley Biwott, a runner-up at the London Marathon, Micah Kogo and Peter Kirui will spice the classy line-up.
Now throw in Uganda’s Olympic and World Championships marathon winner Stephen Kiprotich, who trains at the Global Sports Camp in Kaptagat, and the faint-hearted will tremble.
Kiprotich, the second man in the world to win Olympic and world marathon titles, said: “I have prepared well and have the experience required. I will give a good fight in New York.” He finished 12th in the 2013 New York City Marathon.
Mutai, who hails from Mumberes in Baringo County, said: “It will be no easy for me as I will be trying to set a new course record. I have two important tasks to deliver: defend my title and win course record and a bonus as a three-time winner in New York Marathon.”
Kipsang said team work with Mutai would result in a faster time, if the weather conditions will be favourable.
Two-time London Marathon Mary Keitany (2:18.37), 2011 winner Edna Kiplagat (2:19.50) and Prisca Jeptoo (2:20.14) will take on Ethiopians Buzunesh Deba (2:19.59) and Firehiwot Dado (2:23.15) in the women’s showdown.
But pace-setter Peter Kirui said: “It will not be easy but I am preparing very well. With advice from Kipsang (Wilson) I will do well. Kipsang has been like our father in marathon races,” said Kirui, the Bogota Half Marathon winner.