Marathon World record holder, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge has promised an interesting, but beautiful race when he defends his London Marathon title on October 4 in the British capital city.
“I am going to London to run a beautiful and I can’t say it will be a world or course record,” said Kipchoge, who won his fourth London Marathon title last year in an improved course record time of two hours, 02 minutes and 37 minutes.
Kipchoge, who is the reigning Olympic Marathon champion, noted that he has experienced tough and difficult times where he has not been able to train in a large group owing to Covid-19 restrictions.
“It has been difficult to consolidate our minds together. I have tried to unite my team, though we are few between nine to 10 athletes owing to restrictions,” said Kipchoge, from his training base in Kaptagat during the launch of live coverage of the London Marathon by Nation Media Group on Wednesday.
NTV Kenya and Uganda have secured the free-to-air exclusive rights for the 40th edition of the London Marathon.
With the focus on Kipchoge, who won the 2018 Berlin Marathon in a world record time of 2:01:39 and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, who came close to smashing the record last year at the same course, winning in 2:01:41, legendary athlete Douglas Wakiihuri and NMG Sports Editor Elias Makori are cautious.
Wakiihuri, who is the first Kenyan to win the London Marathon in 1989 (2:09:03, and the first to claim a world marathon title (1987 Rome), and the veteran sports journalists warned of surprises.
“However, training has been going on well and we are happy and positive,” explained Kipchoge while fielding questions from NTV’s Watson Karuma on the live show.
“We have been forced to commute like day scholars from home to their camp in Kaptagat.”
Kipchoge, 35, said he expects a different race in London where they will run in a loop.
“I expect a highly competitive race from my colleagues, but all in all, we shall have a beautiful and interesting race,” said Kipchoge, downplaying his rivalry with Bekele.
“We are close friends with Bekele, but it will be a tough race. I am going to London as Eliud and I will treat myself as the best. We say if you want to enjoy sports you must accept the results,” said Kipchoge.
“I am going to put all my efforts in London just like the rest of the competitors. We shall always have a winner at the end of the day.”
While talking to NTV Sports reporter Idah Waringa from Ngong Sanctuary, Wakiihuri said that nobody knew him when he surprised many to win the world title and London Marathon.
“The two giants (Eliud and Kenenisa) should know that there will always be someone to pull a surprise,” said Wakiihuri, adding that running in a loop will produce a different aspect to the race. “But we need to appreciate that at least we have a major race this season.”
Makori tipped the 2017 World Marathon silver medallist Tamirat Tola, who won silver in marathon at 2016 Rio Olympics, to perform well.
“Ethiopians are more than Kenyans and they might work as a unit regardless of which team they come from.”
Makori also noted that while the focus is on women’s Marathon World record holder, Brigid Kosgei, World Champion, Ruth Chepng’étich, and former champion, Vivian Cheruiyot, Edith Chelimo, who is of unknown qualities, can also pull a surprise.
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