Kenya's Kipsang to Debut in Berlin Marathon

Berlin, Sep 14 (IANS): World cross-country junior champion Geoffrey Kipsang will debut in the Berlin Marathon Sep 30.

However, it will not be a walk through the pack for the 19-year-old as he will come up against world's fastest marathon runner Geoffrey Mutai among a horde of elite marathoners, reports Xinhua.

Kipsang made the decision to move to the road race early after failing to nail down a berth in the Kenya Olympic team in the 5,000 metre race.

With a crowded field, Kipsang is targeting to curve a niche in the ultimate distance running event.

"I was disappointed not to make the team for London Olympics. There are many athletes in the distance in Kenya and making the national team is one of the hardest things. I had to look at the options and marathon really excites me," said Kipsang, who is eyeing the US $50,000 prize money in Berlin.

Organisers of the Berlin Marathon have released a list of top runners who will be trying to improve the course record of 2:03.38 hours that was set by last year's winner Patrick Makau.

Mutai, who won the Boston Marathon last year clocking 2:03:02, will be the man to beat.

His challengers are Jonathan Maiyo, 26, a fourth place finisher at the Dubai Marathon (2:04:56), Deresse Chimsa, 35, from Ethiopia (2:05:42), and Nicholas Kamakya, 27, (2:06:34).

There are two possible contenders to watch out for. Both are first timers in the marathon but both have won the Berlin Half Marathon.

Kipsang won the half-marathon last year and has improved his personal best to 59:26 minutes.

Runners from Ethiopia and Kenya will dominate the women's field.

Aberu Kebede (23) knows the course well enough after winning it in 2010. She has also improved her personal best time to 2:20:33 and will try to get under 2:20.00.

Her toughest contenders are Alemitu Abera, 26, (Ethiopia, 2:23:14), Kenyan Philes Ongori (2:24:20) and Flomena Chepchirchir (2:24:21).

Mutai, who was overlooked by Kenyan Olympic marathon selectors, believes Berlin will be his answer to his critics.

"I have to say many expected me to run in London but it was never to be. Now I have to move on and will be running in Berlin and hopefully will register faster time," he said.

Six months after his victory in Boston, Mutai ran in the New York Marathon and set a fast time of 2:05:06 winning the race and crushing the former course record of 2:07:43, which had stood since 2001


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