His two training partners, world record holder, Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto have already ran to history by winning the Berlin and Chicago races in sub-2:04 within the last month.
Kipsang set the scorching 2:03:23* world record in Germany whilst Kimetto obliterated the Chicago course standard with a scintillating 2:03:45 a fortnight ago in only his third race over the ultimate distance.
“So far, it’s been a good year for our camp and management since Kipsang and Kimetto have gone out there and ran unbelievable times and won so convincingly.
“We have trained together for three months and I believe I’m also in the kind of shape they are in so it motivates me to go and give my best,” Mutai, who won the New York race the last time it was held in 2011 in a course record of 2:05:05, said at their camp in Kapng’etuny, deep in the Kenyan Rift Valley.
Mutai, 32, is no stranger to the sub-2:04 territory, having pounded the clock to return the scarcely believable 2:03:02 at the 2011 Boston Marathon that due to course elevation drop considerations, was not eligible to be a world record.
However, he is focused more on emulating his training partners in delivering victory to give his management team, Volare Sport, their fourth World Marathon Majors (WMM) victory of the year as opposed to chasing the timer.
Kimetto (2:06:50) also won the February Tokyo Marathon that was included in the WMM roster this season to give Volare athletes three out of six races of the elite circuit.
“First, breaking the New York course record in 2011 was very hard. There are no pacemakers there meaning it all depends on how you go as an individual.
“Secondly, the course is very hilly and sometimes the weather is so devastating like last year when we got there but they had to cancel the race so, I cannot guarantee that I will deliver a quick time.
“If the conditions allow, then I will aim to run as fast as I can but the most important thing is to listen to your body and push it carefully,” he explained.
Speaking while sat outside the modest camp they share with Kipsang and Kimetto among other athletes, Mutai hailed the meteoric rise of the latter who was a peasant farmer only three years ago.
“When I saw Dennis win, I felt so happy since his victory was for us all. I assisted him to start his career and sponsored him to local races since if he did well there, then it meant he had the capability to run well abroad.
“I then introduced him to my manager (Gerard Van Der Veen) who organised races for him abroad and having seen what he did in Chicago, then I’m confident he will bring the world record in future,” he stressed as he pointed to the tiny adjacent rooms Kipsang and Kimetto lodge in when in camp.
“Here, we encourage young athletes to race clean since there is no drug that can make you perform better other than the terrain you see around here.
“It is all about training harder and harder in these hills and valleys that are in places like here or Iten, staying focused and when you make it, avoiding the kind of lifestyle that will finish your strength.”
“The secret is simple, train, train and train more.”
In New York that was cancelled last year due to super storm Sandy, Mutai will go head to head against the obdurate challenge of Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich, the Olympics and world champion who has made it his mission to supplant the favoured Kenyans off their perch.
Among others in the men’s elite field are compatriots Wesley Korir, the 2012 Boston titleholder and the legislator for Cherangany constituency in the Kenyan parliament as well as last year’s Paris winner, Stephen Biwott.
*Pending IAAF ratification procedures