By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s Philemon Rono will be targeting
his third successive title at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on
Only his compatriot
Kenneth Mungara has enjoyed more success in Canada’s biggest
city, winning four times (2008-2011). Rono made history a year
ago when he also ran the fastest marathon ever on Canadian soil.
His time of 2:06:52 was also a personal best.
“I’m very happy to
go to Toronto again. I met friends there from Kenya, they came
from many different places in Kenya,” said Rono.
Last year, the
27-year-old Rono’s performance earned him 45,000 U.S. dollars
for setting a Canadian all-comers’ record in addition to 20,000
U.S. dollars first place prize money.
Like many of the
world’s best marathon runners, Rono prefers to race just two
marathons a year.
Although he started
Boston in April, the dreadful conditions scuppered his plans and
he failed to finish. That might well prove to be a positive
development in his build-up to Toronto. Now his focus is
completely on getting his Toronto hat-trick.
“It is important for
me to want to write history, to become the man to win three
consecutive Toronto races and to set a course record again,” he
said. “It’s possible to run faster and if the weather is good
then, maybe, another personal best time.”
Coached by Patrick
Sang, the 1992 Olympic steeplechase silver medalist, Rono has
had to train with champion marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge.
Laban Korir, another
training partner, prepped Rono for his Toronto Waterfront debut
two years ago by telling him details about the course and
weather conditions. Korir was the 2014 Toronto champion and
finished third in 2015.
But it is Kipchoge
whom every athlete in the camp reveres the most.
“He inspires me,”
Rono admits proudly. “Mostly when we see Eliud and how he acts.
When it is time to go for training, it is time for training.
When it is time for rest, we rest. When it’s time to jog, it’s
time for jogging. We watch everything he does.”
plots title defense against Ethiopian legend
By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono says he will do
everything in his power to retain his Amsterdam Marathon crown
and deny Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele the title.
The two are expected
to compete at this year’s race, which will be held on Oct 21 and
Cherono believes he has played the underdog card before and
surprised his critics when he won in the Dutch capital last
“Last year, I was
very happy with the result. I immediately knew that I will come
under focus this year and though I had not known who to face, I
will be happy to battle it out with Bekele and win again,”
Cherono said on Tuesday in Eldoret. Of the nine marathons
Cherono has contested, he has won four and finished on the
podium in eight.
Alongside winning in
Amsterdam last year he also finished second in Rotterdam with a
time of 2:06:21. The Amsterdam Marathon has always attracted a
strong group of elite runners and the 2018 race will be no
Bekele, a multiple
world and Olympic champion announced last week that he will skip
the big city marathons to compete in Amsterdam, which is an IAAF
Gold Label road race. The Ethiopian distance runner owns the
second-fastest marathon performance in history on a
record-eligible course, having clocked a national record of
2:03:03 to win the 2016 Berlin Marathon.
His time is just six
seconds shy of Dennis Kimetto’s world record (2:02:57). Bekele,
who will be contesting his first marathon on Dutch soil, will be
up against Cherono and a horde of other top Kenyan and Ethiopian
“Kenenisa Bekele is
one of the world’s best long-distance runners,” said race
director Cees Pronk. “We are incredibly proud that Bekele will
be lining up at the start on Oct 21. Bekele decided to run in
Amsterdam because he has experienced the expert organization of
the event and knows first-hand that the athletes always come
Bekele might be focused on the world record, Olympic marathon
champion Eliud Kipchoge might just make his work harder if he is
successful in his bid to beat that time in Berlin in September.