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Kenya’s Kipchumba seeks fast time
in his quest for Beijing marathon   

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Mariko Kipchumba of Kenya will defend his title in the Beijing Marathon on Saturday, informs world’s athletics body, IAAF.

Kipchumba has penciled a fast time as a priority for him as he lays down his title at the Beijing Marathon on Saturday.

The 42-year-old Kipchumba is almost turning over the cliff in his illustrious marathon career, but believes he has what it takes to run faster and improve his personal best, which stands at 2:06:05.

“Beijing has a good course and I was lucky to win there last year. But it is always important to note that winning a marathon is not just down to your training, it also depends on the weather of the day and how others have prepared. I have done my part and hopefully, my legs will allow me to carry the day,” he said.

Last year, the Kenyan veteran, who ran down runners nearly half his age to take the title in the Chinese capital, has thrown down the gauntlet and hopes the young will lack the courage to take him head on.

Kipchumba will be gunning to become just the fourth man to successfully defend the Beijing crown.

He won here last year in 2:11:00 but his form this weekend will be shrouded in mystery given he hasn’t raced over the distance since his modest eighth place showing at the Shanghai Marathon last November.

Alongside the Kenyan, there’re seven other runners with sub-2:10 personal best time including Ethiopia’s Mesfin Teshome, who ran 2:09:24 in the Dubai Marathon in January.

There is also Edwin Kangogo Kimaiyo of Kenya, who produced his 2:09:47 best in Enschede in 2015 while 36-year-old Beraki Beyene of Eritrea set his 2:08:27 best in Hengshui in 2014.

Leading names in the women’s race include Olympic fifth placer Volha Mazuronak from Belarus, former Paris Marathon winner Meseret Mengistu from Ethiopia, team-mates Melkam Gizaw and Fantu Jimma and Algeria’s Souad Ait Salem.

Others to watch include Souad Ait Salem of Algeria, who has a 2:25:08 best from 2007 and Ethiopia’s Fantu Jimma, who clocked a near-personal best of 2:26:53 in Xiamen in January.

The men’s course record of 2:07:16 was set by Tadese Tola of Ethiopia in 2013. China’s Sun Yingjie set the women’s mark of 2:19:39 in 2003.

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