NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor, last year’s
runner-up Mary Keitany and Olympic champion Vivian Cheruiyot
will be the athletes to beat in Sunday’s New York Marathon.
Kamworor, 26, has his eyes cast on making the Kenya team to the
World Championships in Doha, Qatar while Cheruiyot has said her
target is to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Both their dreams
will be pegged on the performance in New York.
As a training partner of Eliud Kipchoge, who set the marathon
world record of 2:01:39 in Berlin in September, Kamworor is
confident of his form ahead of Sunday’s race.
"My preparation has gone on well as last year.
"It’s almost the same and so far, so good," Kamworor said on
"I believe in what I have done and I am ready to race.
"If I win, I will be the happiest man in the world because I
will have won everything this year," he added.
He has raced in Bangalore, India and United Arab Emirates
winning in both races.
But he faces new challenge from Shura Kitata, who was second
in London marathon in April clocking 2:04:49. Kenya’s Daniel
Wanjiru should also make his presence felt.
The 2017 London Marathon champion will be making his debut in
New York. But so far this year the 26-year-old has been out of
sorts, finishing eighth at the London Marathon in April and
seventh at the Great North Run in September in 1:03:40.
Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa was runner-up in New York in 2016
and the two-time Boston Marathon champion will be hoping to go
one better this time.
There is also Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola, the world marathon
silver medalist, who ran 2:04:06 to finish third at the Dubai
Marathon in January and Bernard Lagat, who will make his
marathon debut and is targeting Meb Keflezighi’s US masters’
record of 2:12:20.
"Training is going wonderfully," said the 43-year-old
"I know the course is hard but it’s not all about place - for
me it is about time."
In women race, Keitany of Kenya believes her loss to Shalane
Flanagan last year to deny her fourth title in New York has
helped bring competition to the race and will be sweet revenge
is she reclaims her title back.
"It opened up the race and other athletes believed they too
can win," said Keitany.
"I always enter race with aim of winning and after my poor
strategy in London, winning in New York will be better for me."
Flanagan sealed a memorable win in last year’s race in
2:26:53 and to retain her title she will have to overcome Vivian
Cheruiyot, an athlete she has faced on 11 occasions in the past
and never beaten.
Cheruiyot won the London Marathon timed at 2:18:31.
Now she warmed up to New York with win at the Great North Run
However, this will be Cheruiyot’s first time tackling the New
Kamworor puts title on
line in New York marathon, eyes to make history
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Reigning New York Marathon champion Geoffrey
Kamworor says his opponents will need to have better strategy
and greater strength to deny him a second title on Sunday.
The 26-year-old says he has enjoyed an injury-free build-up
to this year’s New York Marathon and is in his best form ever,
as he looks to improve on his personal best time of 2:06:12, set
in Berlin two years ago.
"My preparations have been good since I have not had any
"My main aim is to go to New York and do what I did last year
which is to win, but I am aware that it all depends on hard work
and focus in the race," said Kamworor on Thursday in Nairobi.
Kamworor faces strong opposition from teammate and former
London Marathon winner Daniel Wanjiru (2:05:21), Festus Talam
(2:06:13), and the Ethiopian trio of Tamirat Tola (2:04:06),
Lelisa Desisa (2:04:45) and Tola Shura (2:04:49).
Kamworor returns to the United States hopeful of becoming the
first man to win the New York Marathon in successive years since
John Kagwe in 1998.
His focus will be on his strength, speed and mental aptitude,
which marks him out as the man to beat in New York.
"I would like to win as many world and Olympic titles as
possible and also to win as many marathons," he added.
"Running is my passion, my office. It is my daily activity
that I cannot live without."
Kamworor attributes his strong power and good training to
discipline and running sparingly.
This year, he has immersed himself in training and has only
had two competitions: in Valencia in March where he won his
third World Half Marathon, and in Bangalore, India for the World
10km race, in which he was crowned champion with a time of
Now he is focused on adding a second New York Marathon title,
especially after seeing his mentor and training mate Olympic
champion Eliud Kipchoge obliterate the world marathon record in
Berlin in September, when he won in 2:01:39.
"It was a nice race and although he is my training mate, it
only inspires me to do even better.
"It has not put me under siege or pressure to equal the mark,
but slowly I want to get up there," he added.
Kamworor, who does not turn 26 until November 28, has already
notched a hat-trick of World Half Marathon crowns, three World
Cross Country titles, and is also the reigning New York Marathon
The Kenyan road racing icon has total faith in his gifts, yet
Kamworor did not always possess the swaggering belief he does
today and had to be coaxed into the sport by a schoolteacher.
"At high school I won every distance from 800m to 10,000m,
but I was scared to proceed to the next level.
"I did not believe in myself.
"It was only after a teacher encouraged me that I could
become a professional runner and I saw Kenyans competing at a
world-class level, did I have that desire to one day compete
against them?" he said.
His first tour outside Kenya was in 2011 in Punta Umbria,
Spain, and got off to an inauspicious start after he arrived at
the airport without a valid visa stamp in his passport.
Though he endured a frustrating three-day wait as officials
made efforts to get him cleared, he still went on to win the
Under-20 men’s competition.
Reigning champion Limo
targets course record in Porto marathon
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Defending champion Jackson Kibet Limo of Kenya
has warned he is in top form and ready to challenge the course
record of 2:09:51 set by Philemon Baaru at Sunday’s Porto
marathon in Portugal.
Limo, who holds a best time of 2:09.06, wants to improve his
mark and boost his chances of making the Kenya team to the World
Championships in Qatar in 2019.
However, it will not be a walk in the pack for the Kenyan as
there are other strong contenders such as Ethiopians Abraham
Girma (2:06:48), second at the Copenhagen Marathon, Fikadu
Bekede (2:09:37), winner in Rabat 2017, Daniel Deresxe
(2:10:09), second at the Leiden marathon and Belete Mekonen
(2:10:34), second in Madrid last year.
"These strong challengers will only help push the pace
"That is why I feel am capable of breaking the course record
and defend my title," said Limo on Saturday.
The Kenyan contingent, alongside Limo, includes Richard Limo
(2:06:45), Kenneth Mburu Mungara (2:07:36), the 2018 Gold Coast
winner and Mathhew Bowen (2:10.57). Ugandan Robert Chemonges
(2:10:32), the winner in Dusseldorf this year and Eritrean
Kibrom Weldemicael (2:09:36) could also be factors.
Kenya’s Ezrah Sang, the winner of this year’s Madrid Half
Marathon (60:36) will be making his full marathon debut.
In the women’s race the target is the 2:26:58 course record
set by Kenyan Monica Jepkoech last year.
Leading the chase will be Ethiopians Mesekerem Abera Hunde
(2:28:25), winner of the 2018 Wuham Marathon, Alemu Megertu
(2:29:10), second at this year’s Rabat Marathon, and
Abeba-Tekulu Gebremeskel (2:30:18).
Rionotukei, Koech lead
Kenya charge at China’s Hangzhou Marathon
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s Chemtai Rionotukei will be eyeing her
fifth win in China on Sunday when she races at the Hangzhou
Rionotukei is among the seven Kenyans who will be targeting
to conquer the Hangzhou course.
The 32-year-old Kenyan won the Dongguan Marathon in 2016 and
set her best time of 2:26:30 in May when she finished second at
the Yellow River Estuary International Marathon in Dongying,
China’s Shandong province.
The Kenyan also set the Taiyuan Marathon course record of
2:29:36 last year and went on to finish as the runner-up in the
same race in September. Now she is determined to improve her
time and win the Hangzhou Marathon on Sunday.
"I love running in China. It has very good course and it
inspires me to bring out my best.
"In Hangzhou, a lot of focus will be on me, but I have come
to get used to that.
"I hope we will have fast pace setters and see who will
follow me through the course to 30km," said Rionotukei on
The Kenyan will be up against Ethiopia’s Hirut Tibedu, the
Shanghai Marathon bronze medalist and Nastassia Ivanova of
The field also includes Ethiopia’s Tsehay Desalegn, who
finished third in Hangzhou last year in 2:28:35, as well as
Nancy Koech of Kenya, former winner of the Munster, Copenhagen,
Mombasa, and Malaga marathons.
"I believe the chance to win in Hangzhou is real and I will
want to grab it.
"I have enough experience and though we have some fast
runners, I believe in my own training and strength. I always
plan and run my own race using my own strategy and in Hangzhou
it will be the same," said Koech.
In the men’s race, defending champion Ethiopia’s Azmeraw
Bekele will put up his title on the line and several Kenyans
will be keen to dethrone him led by 31-year-old Edwin Kibet
Bekele holds the course record at 2:10:33 from last year’s
Since his marathon debut in 2014, Koech has remained
He registered his career best time of 2:08:17 three years ago
from his fifth place finish in Eindhoven and went on to win at
the 2016 Linz Marathon in 2:09:06.
His most recent performance at the Dalian International
Marathon six month ago saw him break the course record by
winning in 2:09:44.
Kenya’s Geoffrey Ronoh, who will turn 36, will also toe the
The 2:09:29 performer has yet to run in any marathon in the
current season but collected two half marathon titles in August
and September respectively.
There is also Evans Sambu who has two wins in China at the
Taiyuan and Shenzhen in 2016, Mike Kiprotich Mutai, former Hong
Kong and Danzhou Marathon winner, and Edwin Kimaiyo.