NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Mental
fight to stay injury free and deliver victory will inspire both Kenyan defending
champion Abel Kirui and world marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto in their
quest to win the Chicago Marathon on Sunday.
The two are
part of the Kenyan contingent that left for the United States on Thursday hoping
the weather will be conducive for them to run faster time, though the duo ruled
out an attempt on the world record, which stands at 2:02.57.
“It is about
running fast time and improvement. But the world record is pushing too far and I
believe all that is important is to win the race and let the time aspect fall
into perspective,” Kirui said on Thursday in Nairobi.
Marathon men’s line-up has five athletes who have run under two hours and six
is headed by Kimetto (2:02:57) and champ Kirui (2:05:04) along with Ethiopians
Feyisa Lilesa (2:04:52) and Sisay Lemma (2:05:16) and former New York Marathon
winner Stanley Biwott from Kenya (2:03:51).
names include Olympic bronze medallist Galen Rupp (2:09:58), Kenyans Ezekiel
Chebii (2:06:07) and Bernard Kipyego (2:06:19) and world half marathon
record-holder Zersenay Tadese from Eritrea (2:10:41).
elite field is headed by Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba (2:17:56 PB), reigning
champion Florence Kiplagat (2:19:44 PB) and top US distance runner Jordan Hasay
won the title, last year in two hours, 11 minutes and 23 seconds is certain he
can lower his time.
finished my training and I will be looking forward to doing well in the race
where I want to lower my time and also retain my title,” said Kirui.
seeing his training partner and Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge win Berlin
Marathon last month has heaped pressure on Kirui to deliver similar performance.
“We all train
together and we know how strong one is even before a race. Kipchoge did his part
in Berlin and there was no question about his strength. Now it is about me in
Chicago,” he said. “It will not be easy but I hope the tactics will come in play
when needed most.”
field has defending champion Florence Kiplagat, gunning for the third victory in
Chicago, propelled by compatriot Valentine Kipketer to weather any challenge
from Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba.