NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Kenyan runners Geoffrey Kirui and Bedan Karoki
may not be the top names at the Chicago marathon, but the duo
are holding their cards close to their chest as they plot a
surprise show on Oct 7.
Kirui, the 2017
Boston marathon champion, was pushed to second position in
defense of his title in April while Karoki, who had finished
third in last year’s London race, was fifth in the English
capital clocking 2:08:34.
Now the two are
relishing challenging the status quo in Chicago, albeit from an
“The pressure is no
longer on me like was the case in London. I can relax and focus
on running my own race and leave the top names to choke each
other out,” Wanjiru said on Tuesday from his training base in
assembled together at least 11 men who have run two hours and
seven minutes or faster, including past champions Abel Kirui and
They will face off
against Britain’s Mo Farah, Kenneth Kipkemoi, Paul Lonyangata,
Kirui, Karoki, Stephen Sambu and Augustine Choge.
“We have put
together an exciting elite field, and it should be a fast race
to the top of the podium,” said Chicago Marathon Executive Race
Director Carey Pinkowski.
“This year’s elite
field is a collection of some of the best international athletes
running on the global stage today. We are confident that they
will continue the great tradition of memorable and record
setting performances in Chicago,” he added.
Karoki, a two-time
Olympian in the 10,000m, is an exciting athlete who made his
marathon debut in 2017.
Prior to jumping to
the marathon, he spent nearly a decade polishing his speed on
the track, representing Kenya three times in the 10,000m at the
IAAF World Championships.
“I still need to
learn more in marathon. But I have high hopes of doing well in
Chicago. Training is going on well with no injury concerns,”
Kipkemoi boasts the
25th fastest time in history over the half marathon
distance, 59:01, and he started 2018 with a successful marathon
debut, running 2:05:44 to win the Rotterdam Marathon.
On the other hand,
Lonyangata missed a spot in the top three in Chicago in 2016,
coming home in fourth after enduring uneven pace swings.
He set his personal
best, 2:06:10, while winning the 2017 Paris Marathon, and he
welcomed 2018 by becoming the first back-to-back winner of the
Paris Marathon in nearly two decades.
experienced a significant career breakthrough when he won the
laurel wreath at the 2017 Boston Marathon, shaking off American
Galen Rupp to victory.
That win set him up
for the 2017 IAAF World Marathon Championships, where he was
Kirui returned to
Boston in to defend his title in April, but he failed to match
the strides of a hard charging Yuki Kawauchi and he was forced
to settle for second.
Kirui’s second attempt in Chicago, where he had made his
marathon debut in 2014, but he dropped out of the race.