Kirui targets Delhi Half glory to cap golden year

Geoffrey Kirui wins in Boston (PHOTO/IAAF/Victah Sailer)
Geoffrey Kirui wins in Boston (PHOTO/IAAF/Victah Sailer)

World Marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui will be looking forwarding to ending his season in style at the New Delhi Half Marathon on Sunday.

The Boston Marathon winner will be out to add another title to his growing collection as 2015 Beijing World Championships silver medallist Hellah Kiprop hunts her first victory this year.

Kirui, 24, returns to the Indian capital for the second time since 2015 where he set a personal best of 59:38. He is hoping that he will be able to retain the title won by Olympic and two time London Marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge who is his training mate at the Global Sports Communications Centre in Kaptagat, Uasin Gishu County.

This year in April Kirui, won the Boston title in 2 hours 9 minutes and 37 minutes in April that earned him a call up to Team Kenya for the IAAF World Championships in London. The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) athlete triumphed a second time during the Augusts’ London Championships winning the men’s marathon in 2:08:27.

Kirui is the fastest on course though his compatriots Jorum Okumbo (PB 58:48), Alex Korio (58:51), Stephen Kibet (58:54) and debutant John Langat will be ready to give him a run for his money at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

“I received the invitation about a month ago. Have done the much I could to prepare myself for the race though it was a short notice. However, that does not mean that I will let go off the top podium place without a fight. I believe I will still make it and that the title will remain in Kenya,” said Kirui, the World Championships title holder.

After failing to command a podium finish at the London World Championships, Hellah Kiprop (1:07:39) will be a lone soldier in the race against four Ethiopian ladies.

Kiprop the 2016 Tokyo Marathon champion will keep a keen eye on the women’s defending champion Worknesh Degefa (1:06:14) of Ethiopia.

This will be the second time the two will be meeting this year after making podium finishes in May at the TCS World 10K Bangalore. IAAF World Cross Country Champion Irene Cheptai took the race honours in 0:31:51 while Degefa who took second place in 32:00 followed closely by Kiprop two seconds later to take third podium place in 0:31:51.

Olympic and two time World champion Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia will add an interesting twist in the women’s race as she makes her debut over the distance. Ayana will be setting her eyes on the prize cheque of US$27,000 (Ksh 2,797,199) set aside for the winner.

In Spain, Mathew Kisorio will be focused on lowering his personal best from a sub 2:06 at the Valencia Trinidad Alfonso EDP Marathon also an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

I have prepared myself very well for this race. My main target is to see if I can lower my PB to 2:05 and I believe it’s possible according to the training,” Kisorio told Citizen Digital before boarding the plane on Thursday evening.

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