Athletics Athletics

Kenyan aces set for Farah London bow


KIPSANG-LONDON-2LONDON, England, January 14- Wilson Kipsang, the world record holder, is set up for a mouth-watering clash with Britain’s double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah at April’s Virgin London Marathon.

According to organisers who released the elite men’s field Tuesday, Kipsang, who won the London title in 2012 before ceding it to Ethiopia’s Tsegay Kebede last year, will be joined by compatriot and course record holder, Emmanuel Mutai, another returning winner in the chase for top honours.

The strong Kenyan Armada also features two-time New York winner, Geoffrey Mutai, 2012 Paris Marathon champ, Stanley Biwott and Martin Mathathi, the Fukuoka Marathon champion, who will make his World Marathon Majors bow.

“For now, mine is to continue training. I will have a better idea of my prospects in the coming weeks when it all becomes clear.

“I welcome every return to London since it is a race that means a lot to me,” Mutai, the 2:04:40 course record holder at London and 2011 champion told Capital Sport on Tuesday.

“That race will be very hot and for us, it presents a challenge to get into good shape. My prayer is my body will be in good form so that I can run to the best of my ability,” his namesake Geoffrey told.

“I’m yet to get into my competition shape so I’m working hard to get there,” the athlete who finished second over 12km at the Kenya Police Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Nairobi added.

EMMANUELFLORAMathathi, who won Fukuoka last month for his maiden victory over the classic distance, added he would strive to run under his 2:07:16 career best against a formidable field.

“I’m excited to be in the race and I will try my best. My intention is to train well for the race and everything is possible from there.

“It would be great to win the race where my friend (the late) Samuel Wanjiru did so well but it will take a lot. Running the marathon requires adequate preparations,” the 2007 World Championships 10,000m bronze winner said from Eldoret where he has shifted his training base.

The Nyahururu-born athlete is readying for the Marugame Half Marathon in Japan at the end of the month before returning to step up his preparations for London.

Wanjiru, the 2008 Olympics and 2009 London champion in the previous 2:05:10 route best, also hails from the same town.

Reigning Olympics and World champion from Uganda, Stephen Kiprotich is also in the line-up.

Besides Kebede, the Ethiopian firepower includes, Ayele Abshero (2:04:23/2012 Dubai champion), Feyisa Lilesa (2:04:32/2011 world bronze medallist) and an exciting debut for Ibrahim Jeilan, the 2011 World 10,000m gold medallist.

Despite the strong African force, the race will headlined by the maiden full marathon foray by Farah on April 13 in the streets of the city he made his name as a double Olympics champion over 5000m and 10000m in 2012.

Farah ran the first half of the race in 2013 to assess the course and opposition in preparation for his full marathon debut this April.

He went on to win the World Championships 10,000m title in Moscow last August before retaining his world 5000m crown, adding another global track double to his twin Olympic triumphs from London 2012.

The 30-year-old then ran his fastest half marathon when second in the Great North Run last September and has since been training hard for his first marathon race.

“I gained a lot of valuable experience running part of the course alongside the top guys last year and can’t wait to race over the full distance this April,” said Farah, who will have an eye on the long-standing UK record of 2:07:13 told organisers.

“The London Marathon always attracts the world’s best runners to its elite fields and this year will be no different. I am expecting it to be one of my toughest races and a real learning experience.

MO-FARAH-MOBOT“I had another great year on the track in 2013, but the marathon is my main focus for this year. As a young boy growing up in London it has always been my ambition to run the London Marathon and to be able to make my marathon debut in my home town is very special.”

-Additional info from organisers

2014 Elite Men’s Field and Personal Bests

Wilson Kipsang (KEN), 2:03:23, World-record holder
Emmanuel Mutai (KEN), 2:03:52, London Marathon record holder
Geoffrey Mutai (KEN), 2:04:15*, 2013 New York City Marathon champion
Ayele Abshero (ETH), 2:04:23, 2012 Dubai Marathon champion
Feyisa Lilesa (ETH), 2:04:32, 2011 world bronze medallist
Tsegaye Kebede (ETH), 2:04:38, 2013 London Marathon champion
Stanley Biwott (KEN), 2:05:12, 2012 Paris Marathon champion
Marilson dos Santos (BRA), 2:06:34, Two-times New York City Marathon champion
Martin Mathathi (KEN), 2:07:16, 2013 Fukuoka Marathon champion
Stephen Kiprotich (UGA), 2:07:20, World and Olympic marathon champion
Samuel Tsegay (ERI), 2:07:28
Mustapha El Aziz (MAR), 2:07:55
Amanuel Mesel (ERI), 2:08:17
Scott Overall (GBR), 2:10:55
Ryan Vail (USA), 2:11:45
Mo Farah (GBR), Debut, World & Olympic 5000m & 10,000m champion
Ibrahim Jeilan (ETH), Debut, 2011 World 10,000m champion
Chris Thompson (GBR), Debut
Ben Livesey (GBR), Debut