NAIROBI, November 18 – World champion Luke Kibet and three time World Cross Country Champion Edith Masai will compete in next monthâ€™s Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. Twenty five year old Kibet who became the first Kenyan in 20 years to win the world title in Osaka last year, set his personal best time of 2:08:52 in Eindhoven in 2006.
Kibet finished 11th in London this year with his season’s best of 2:12:25, and will have a lot to prove in Singapore as his last marathon, at the Beijing Olympic Games, ended in a ‘did not finish.’
The former footballer turned athlete will be hoping to end a tumultuous year on a high. Kibet was a victim of post election violence when he was attacked twice.
The first time he was hit on the head suffering a concussion, while the second attack happened on his way to Nairobi.
“We were coming to (Kenya Prisons) training camp in Nairobi when we were attacked,” he recounted. “I drew my official gun that scared away the youths, who were armed with pangas (machetes). I cannot say that they were targeting me and it was just bad luck.”
Masai will be looking to better her second place finish in last year’s race. The 41 year old placed eight in last year’s World Championships. The mother of one set her personal best in 2005 Hamburg marathon which she won in 2:27:06.
Masai who started running in her mid thirties became the first woman ever to win three short course titles before turning her sights on road running.
Singapore marathon will be the second race of the Greatest Run on Earth Series. The first leg was held in Nairobi in October. Other legs include Mumbai and Hong Kong.
Singapore’s location, with permanently warm temperatures and high humidity, similar in fact to Osaka in summer, means that Area let alone World records are pretty much out of the question.
But it is testament to the excellent organisation and beautiful shoreline course (for much of the race) that over 50,000 applied to enter one the three events in this, the revamped race’s seventh year. And over 15,000 of them will run the full marathon.