Keitany out to conquer NYC, Kipsang battles for honours


Mary Keitany wins the New York City Marathon (PHOTO/IAAF/Getty Images)
Mary Keitany wins the New York City Marathon (PHOTO/IAAF/Getty Images)

The imposing Mary Keitany takes on the New York Marathon course on Sunday seeking her fourth straight title as Wilson Kipsang looks to end the year with a flourish having endured a low-key season.

Keitany, who became only the third woman to secure the New York three-peat when she won the title last year, will no doubt be the key attraction as she looks to make it four in as many years.

The 35-year-old is also the fastest woman on the course after setting a women’s only world record of two hours, 17 minutes and one second (2:17.01) in April 23 when she won her third Virgin Money London Marathon.

Victory in NYC will earn Keitany another 25 points and place her nine above Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, who is leading with 41 points in the Abbott World Marathon Majors leader board.

The two-time Abbott World Marathon Majors (2012 and 2016) winner hopes to also attack the 14-year old course record of 2:22:31 set by Margaret Okayo in 2003.

Her main challenger will be former 2011 and 2013 IAAF World Championships winner and reigning Boston marathon champion Edna Kiplagat.

Kiplagat beat Keitany for the top podium place in 2010 and will be looking forward to dethroning the Big Apple queen from her throne. The Kenyan pair turned down the national call of duty for the August IAAF World Championships in London to focus on their individual races.

Olympian Besty Saina, is unfazed by the elite field, in New City Marathon. This will be her second attempt after suffering an injury and jet lag during her debut over the distance in Tokyo Marathon back on February 26.

“My greatest lesson was that in a marathon one cannot assume an injury unlike in the track where you can get away with it.  I would like to advise fellow new comers that it’s better to cancel the race and focus on recovery. This time round I have had three solid months for training and I got no injury worries.

“Mary and Edna have been so inspiring just like Vivian Cheruiyot (Olympic and Frankfurt Marathon champion). They have been very supportive and giving me advice like when I’m tired Mary would give me advice on what to do. I’m not scared about Sunday’s race I will just do ran my race,” Saina who finished fifth over 10,000 meters at the Rio 2016 Olympics Games.

Kipsang redemption

Wilson Kipsang celebrates his victory at the New York Marathon (PHOTO/IAAF/Getty Images)
Wilson Kipsang celebrates his victory at the New York Marathon (PHOTO/IAAF/Getty Images)

Kipsang, a two-time London marathon (2012 and 2014) champion and Bizunesh Deba of Ethiopia were the late entries for the race.

The Kenya Police Service officer, will be seeking to redeem himself after bowing out of the BMW Berlin Marathon six weeks ago due to harsh weather conditions. He was chasing the 2:02.57 world record set by Dennis Kimetto in 2014 alongside Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge who took the race honours in 2:3.34.

Earlier this year on February 26, Kipsang set a new course record of 2:03:58 during the Tokyo Marathon.

He will be making his third competitive race appearance after his 2014 victory and the following year when he relinquished the crown to countryman Stanley Biwott.

He will give defending champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie of Eritrea a run for his money but will be keen on Beijing World Championships 10,000m silver medallist Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor.

Kamworor, the three-time IAAF World Half Marathon champion is not new to road racing after picking the runner-up position in 2:10:48 behind Biwott (2:10:34) in 2015.

The talented all surface athlete was also holds two IAAF World Cross Country titles and assisted Patrick Makau in setting a ‘rain’ WR of 2:03.38 in 2011.

“I have not fully switched to road racing, we still have a chance to redeem the 10,000m titles and I believe that I’m the right candidate to do that. I have prepared well for New York Marathon and I’m ready to compete,” said Kwamoror the defending World Half Marathon champion.

 

ELITE ENTRIES

Men

  1. Wilson Kipsang KEN (2:03:58)
  2. Lemi Berhanu (ETH) 2:04:33
  3. Lelisa Desisa (ETH) 2:04:45
  4. Geoffrey Kamworor (KEN) 2:06:12
  5. Tadesse Abraham (SUI) 2:06:40
  6. Lucas Rotich (KEN) 2:07:17
  7. Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (ERI) 2:07:46

Women

  1. Mary Keitany (KEN) 2:17:01
  2. Edna Kiplagat (KEN) 2:19:50
  3. Mare Dibaba (ETH) 2:19:52
  4. Tigist Tufa (ETH) 2:21:52
  5. Mamitu Daska (ETH) 2:21:59
  6. Besty Saina (Ken) Debut

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