Kipchoge to launch Rio 2016 bid at Lewa Marathon


Kipchoge to launch Rio 2016 bid at Lewa Marathon

Two-time London Marathon Champion Eliud Kipchoge will launch his bid for Rio Olympics glory at this weekend’s 17th edition of the Safaricom Marathon in Lewa.

The 2014 Chicago winner who will be taking part in the 21km race will be joined by Elijah Mbogo, the men’s defending champion in the event and Paralympic world record holder, Henry Wanyoike.

“It is a great honour for me to take part in the 2016 Safaricom Marathon and also get a chance to launch my bid for Rio gold as we look forward to one of the biggest events in the athletics history. I am optimistic that Kenya will sweep the medals in Rio because we have been training extensively in preparation for the event,”  the Athens 2004 bronze and Beijing 2008 silver medallist over 5000m told.

The 31 year-old who retained his London title with the second-fastest time over the distance of 2:03:05 is hoping to be the second Kenyan after the late Samuel Wanjiru Kamau to bag the men ultimate distance gold at the Olympics to complete the medal set having missed London 2012.

Since taking up the ultimate distance challenge, he has won six of the seven marathons started and last year, his world record bid was slowed down by the flapping insoles of his specially designed Nike running shoes, coming to the tape in 2:04:00 that was the quickest for 2015.

In London, he came within a hair’s breath of the world record of 2:02:57 ran by Kimetto at the same Berlin course in 2014 and having given his all to realise his Olympics dream, you can almost bet he will not let the chance slip through his fingers.

 

At the same time, Fridah Lodepa will be out to make history as the first woman to win at Lewa four-times in a row after breasting the tape in 2:50:26 for her hat-trick last year to share the honours with Mbogo who clocked 2:20:18 for victory in the corresponding men’s race at the difficult course.

Three-time men’s winner Philemon Baaru, who won his third consecutive last year.

This year’s race has attracted participants from 28 countries including USA, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Finland, South Africa, Italy and host nation Kenya among others.

Citizen Television will be live at Lewa where respected sports broadcasters, Mike Okinyi, Waihiga Mwaura and Radio Citizen‘s Geoffrey Mwamburi will provide commentary, analysis and updates from the marathon in the wild.

The event realised Ksh64m for conservation efforts and community development across the country.

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Story By John Kyanda
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