Cheer our stars at Chicago Marathon tomorrow evening

Ruth Chepngetich, of Kenya, is attended to by race officials after crossing the finish line to win the women's division of the Chicago Marathon, Sunday, Oct 9, 2022, in Chicago. [AP Photo]

The 45th Chicago Marathon gets underway tomorrow, with a strong Kenyan squad in contention.

There will be plentiful mouth-watering clashes from top class athletes. Kelvin Kiptum, the world’s second fastest marathon in history after Eliud Kipchoge leads the Kenyan onslaught. 

There is defending champion Benson Kipruto, 2019 world marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich, Los Angeles Marathon winner John Korir, and 2021 London Marathon winner Joyceline Jepkosgei. The Chicago battle promises a hair-raising action.

In this mix of gunpowder, there are 2018 Commonwealth Games 10,000m silver medalist Stacy Ndiwa, half marathon specialist Daniel Mateiko and Wesley Kiptoo. Others include Belgium’s Olympic bronze medalist Bashir Abdi (2:03:36), Ethiopians Dawit Wolde (2:04:27), Seifu Tura (2:04:29) and US’s Galen Rupp (2:06:07).

Kipruto, who trains with 2022 London Marathon winner Amos Kipruto at 2Running Club near Kapsabet, has a leg up against his challengers – having mastered the pan-cake Chicago Marathon course that has 31 turns. The race starts and ends at the famous Grant Park. We expect our stars to ship home the bullion.

And, more importantly, eight Kenyans – five men and three women – will be on the starting line in epic battles expected to light up the global stage. As a nation, we should rally behind our big shots tomorrow night.

We expect Kiptum, who shocked the world when he beat world marathon record holder Kipchoge at the London Marathon last April, to continue with his brilliant performance.

The global stage awaits with bated breath to see if our 23-year-old Kiptum, from Chepsamo village in Keiyo South, will make history. He’s no stranger to sterling performances. He made his 42km debut at last year’s Valencia Marathon, where he posted an impressive 2:01.53 –the fifth fastest time in history.

Questions now linger on whether he will lower the Chicago Marathon’s course of 2:03.45 –set by former world marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto –or, at best, break the world marathon record of 2:01.09. In any case, he’s just 16 seconds shy of the world record.

We had expectations that Kiptum, who trains under Golazo Sports Management, could have a rematch with world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge at the Berlin Marathon last month. But he now has a chance and a flat and course that he can prove his mettle.

We are optimistic that the young man can replay his London Marathon feat in the American race. At the London race in April – another flat course with 19 turns – Kiptum shocked the global stage as he won the race in 2:01.25, to erase the course record of 2:02.37 set by Kipchoge in 2019. He set it without world record dreams in mind. Let’s stand up and cheer our stars!

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