Rome Marathon champion Kipruto targets Amsterdam crown

Amos Kipruto approaches the tape to win the 2016 Rome Marathon. PHOTO/Organisers/IAAF
Amos Kipruto approaches the tape to win the 2016 Rome Marathon. PHOTO/Organisers/IAAF

Rome Marathon champion Amos Choge Kipruto is ready to make yet another statement at the 41st edition of the Amsterdam Marathon in Netherlands on October 16.

Having bagged his maiden marathon title on April 10 in the streets of the Italian capital, Kipruto says he has more hunger for top honours in the ultimate distance event when he duels compatriots; three-time Amsterdam winner Wilson Chebet and two-time Amsterdam champion Bernard Kipyego.

“I’m happy with my training and it is among the best I have done so far. My body is responding well and the flat course is okay for me. I hope I shall make it to the top three and improve my personal best of 2:08:12 to 2:06.

“Amsterdam is going to be very competitive since Kipyego is going there to defend his title. That does worry me at all. Every race has a winner and a loser it’s a matter of how you approach the race. I believe I shall put in a good time there,” the confident Rome winner underlined.

Despite missing his coach, Italian Claudio Berardelli who is out of the country, Kipruto says 2 Running Club teammate; Evans Chebet boosted his confidence after finishing third at the 43rd edition of the BMW Berlin Marathon on Sunday.

Three-time Olympics Champion Kenenisa Bekele (2:03:03) of Ethiopia forced 2012 Olympics Bronze medallist; Wilson Kipsang (2:03:13), who is also a two-time London Marathon winner to settle for second place as Chebet hammered his lifetime best to return 2:05:31 for third.

Kipruto who is based in Kapsabet, Nandi County enjoys his time training with fellow world beaters like Dickson Chumba who has won the Rome, Eindhoven, Tokyo and Chicago Marathons, Paris Champion Cyprian Kotut and Chebet.

“I’m very happy and excited for Evans. Have got no words say how I feel. We have been training together as we prepared for our races. He was the first to go since the unfortunate predicament befell our coach.

“His wonderful performance has boosted my willpower. Today’s training session was fantastic because I felt more energized and lighter in my feet. All eyes were on him and he did not disappoint.  Kotut is next,” he told Citizen Digital after Monday’s long run.

Their coach Berardelli and five others are facing charges related to doping and he is out on bail pending the mention of their case in November after two athletes, among them disgraced former three-time Boston and twice Chicago champion, Rita Jeptoo, accused him of administering them prohibited substances.

Kotut will be travelling to Britain for Sunday’s Bournemouth Marathon and Kipruto expects his 2 Running stable-mate to deliver.

“Kotut is like a brother to me, I met him even before I joined camp. He is the most talkative and funny in camp. He really encourages and makes us laugh and we love being around each other,” Kipruto added bursting into laughter.

The 24-year-old father of twin girls won the Rome title on his full marathon debut, beating Achamie Birhanu (2:09:27) and compatriot Dominic Ruto (2:09:28) to the minor podium places.

“In Rome I went in with a plan and applied what my coach taught me before the race. I stayed in the pack monitoring my body. When the time was right, I pulled away from the chasing pack and made it.

“My coach told me not to panic and told me to think of it as one of our long run training. I did that and won my first marathon. The win excited me since it came just after Cyprian had won Paris,” he added.

He credits his uncle Ezekiel Biwott for inspiring him to venture into athletics by showing him pictures of the late Beijing Olympics and two-time Chicago Marathon champion, Samuel Wanjiru, telling him how he excelled in all races that he participated in.

Kipruto says ever since he discovered his talent while studying at Tulon Primary School, he started following his elder sister Josephine Jepkoech and her husband Joseph Lagat who were also being coached by Berardelli to their sessions.

The Italian met Kipruto in 2012 when he came to see how his sister and brother-in-law were training, adding that he used to follow his training programme even before they met and took interest in his athletics career.


“It has been a tough time for us at 2 Running Club, after our coach was arrested. It has really affected us in different ways that we cannot tell.

“We miss him especially during our training where he gauges you and even predicts your time before you go for a race. You get in the course knowing your probable time. It’s up to you to know if you will make it worse or even better,” he lamented the toll the case against the Italian has had on the group he leads.

“Despite being far, he still encourages us and we follow the training programmes he sends keenly,” he added.

The TCS Amsterdam Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label race.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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