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Kenya’s Chebogut eyes Uganda’s Kiprotich at Hamburg marathon

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Stephen Chebogut says he will use his underdog status to surprise his opponents in Sunday’s Hamburg marathon in Germany.

The 33-year-old is living a dream in marathon running and will be one of the star athletes as organizers bring together a potent blend of talents, including former Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich, Sammy kitwara and Emmanuel Mutai, the fourth fastest marathon runner in history.

“I believe I can run a marathon best time and you never know, I might be in a fast group of athletes and run a miracle time of 2:03,” Chebogut said on Tuesday.

Chebogut did not take up athletics until he was 24 and when he was beaten by three female runners on his marathon debut in Nairobi in 2008, but he refused to give up.

In 2011 Chebogut improved his marathon best to 2:08:02 to finish sixth in Paris and in 2012 he stormed to victory in the Istanbul marathon.

He enjoyed his best season to date in 2015 winning the Eindhoven marathon in a lifetime best - which still stands today - of 2:05:52 and also placed third in the Hamburg marathon.

Achilles problems marred his progress in 2016, but he returned strong last year to finish second in Paris in 2:06:57 and seventh in Amsterdam (2:07:30).

“We always train seriously and because of this I always know the results will come,” he says. Mutai carries a weight of expectation as the fourth fastest marathoner of all time.

His 2:03:13 came in pursuit of Kenyan Dennis Kimetto when the latter broke the world record in Berlin in 2014 with 2:02:57. He leads an elite men’s field for the Hamburg marathon and he is one of five men who have broken 2:06.

There is also Kenya’s Sammy Kitwara, whose best is 2:04:28 and the 2012 Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda.

Ethiopians Ayele Abshero (2:04:23) and Solomon Deksisa (2:06:22), Bahrain’s Shumi Dechasa (2:06:43) as well as the Kenyan pair of Vincent Kipruto (2:05:13) and a powerful blend of talents will be on the starting line.

The Kenyan team departs from Nairobi on Tuesday for Hamburg.



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