NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Former two-time world marathon champion Abel
Kirui of Kenya will compete in the Verona Half Marathon on Feb.
18 as part of his preparations for the London marathon in April.
Kirui, who trains in
Kaptagat with former Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich and
reigning champ Eliud Kipchoge, wants a fast course to test his
speed and endurance.
“At this level of
competition, it does not matter who will be named to run against
you. The elite runners are all top names and will do everything
to win. I will focus on doing my part and hope to run [a] fast
time in Italy,” Kirui said on Tuesday.
The Kenyan twice won
the World Championship in the marathon event - in Berlin 2009
and in 2011 in Daegu, South Korea.
He also won a silver
medal in the marathon at the 2012 London Olympic Games when he
crossed the line in 2:08:27 with training mate Stephen Kiprotich
clinching gold with a time of 2:08:01.
In 2009 Kirui set a
personal best time of 2:05:04 in marathons, which then made him
the sixth fastest marathon runner in history.
However, there have
been younger runners who have come up and run faster including
Kipchoge, London champion Daniel Wanjiru and world record holder
In the half marathon
distance, Kirui set a time of 60.11 in Rotterdam. He will try
and see if he can break compatriot’s Edwin Koech’s course record
“I have to run [a]
faster time and hopefully the course record will fall in place.
This race is critical for me as I prepare for the London
marathon,” said Kirui.
Last year Kirui lost
out in his defense of the Chicago marathon, finishing second. He
remains undoubtedly one of the strongest athletes competing and
the race in Verona will undoubtedly be improved by his presence.