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Its Kipruto vs Kirui for Biwa honours

VINCENT-KIPRUTOTOKYO, Japan, March 1- World silver medallist Vincent Kipruto will square off against fellow Kenyan Peter Kirui at the 68th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon – an IAAF Gold Label Road Race – in Otsu, Japan, on Sunday (3).

Kipruto has broken 2:06 for the Marathon three times in his career, his fastest being his 2:05:13 in Rotterdam in 2010. But the 25-year-old, who clocked 61:36 at the Egmond Half Marathon last month, hasn’t broken 2:10 for the marathon for nearly two years, so there’s something of a question mark over his current form.

If Kipruto is unable to recapture his form of 2010-2011, it could make fellow Kenyan Peter Kirui the favourite.

Kirui has only completed two Marathons to date – 2:06:31 in Frankfurt two years ago and 2:09:15 in Amsterdam last year.

But Kirui has bags of potential and boasts impressive speed. In 2011 he ran 27:32.1 for 10,000m in the altitude of Nairobi before going on to finish sixth in that event at the IAAF World Championships.

He also has two sub-60 Half-marathons to his credit, including his 59:39 victory in New York last year, so his current form may be better than Kipruto’s.

If either of the top two Kenyans falter, then Tariku Jufar could steal the show. The Ethiopian recorded three consecutive sub-2:10 Marathons last year, starting with a 2:06:51 win in Houston and rounded out the year with a victory in Beijing.

Viktor Rothlin and Abderrahim Bouramdane both have 2:07 PBs to their credit. With bags of experience, Rothlin and Bouramdane will be ready to pounce if any of the top Africans aren’t at their best.

James Mwangi, who has PBs of 27:49.27 for 10,000m and 60:34 for the Half-marathon, is surely capable of running a faster Marathon than his current PB of 2:08:38.

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But his DNF in the Fukuoka Marathon in December suggests he might not be ready to improve on his lifetime best this weekend.

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