The Star (Nairobi)

18 October 2013

Kenya: Kimetto Focused

NEWLY crowned Chicago marathon champion Dennis Kimetto is already targeting the world record set recently by compatriot Wilson Kipsang in Berlin.

Kimetto, who missed the world record by 17 seconds in Chicago, said his next assignment is to bring down Kipsang'smark which stands at 2:03.23.

Despite missing the world record, he still lowered his personal best from 2:04.16 to 2:03.45.

While winning the Chicago race last Sunday Kimetto also smashed the course record of 2:04.38 previously held by Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede.

Speaking yesterday when he was welcomed home with a song and dance reception by relatives, family and friends at Eldoret International Airport, he said the world record is achievable.

"I am now focusing on it and I am praying that God guides me so I can achieve my target," Kimetto said in Eldoret.

Kimetto, who hails from Metkei village in Keiyo South, said he is aiming to set the mark at the Berlin Marathon next year. He said he will participate in the Boston Marathon in April and September's Berlin Marathon where he hopes to achieve his feat.

"I am now going to train hard for the record assignment. I will use the Boston race to gauge my strength for Berlin. The German city is where I hope to set the record. For the time being I am taking a break from training," he added.

Kimetto has won several half marathons in line with his distance running specialisation. He is also the world 25km record holder (71.18)--a feat he achieved last year at the BIG 25K Berlin race.

After winning Nairobi, RAK and Berlin half marathons, he made his full marathon debut last year in Berlin, posting 2:04.16, the fifth fastest at the event.

This year, before heading to Chicago, he had won the Tokyo Marathon, where he also set a course record of 2:06.5.

"I have been to Berlin and I know and understand the course very well. With hard work and dedication I believe I can bring the record under 2:03.20 hrs," he said.

Veteran coach David Letting said he also believes Kenyans have an opportunity to lower the marathon record. He said there is a rich crop of top quality marathoners capable of running under 2:03.

"Kenya athletes have topped major marathons of the world. They have established a niche. There can only be good things to come," Letting said.

Rita Jeptoo, who also won the women's Chicago Marathon in 2:19.57 said she is happy to have improved her personal best.

"All gratitude goes to God for granting me the victory. It was a tough race but I made it," Jeptoo said at the Eldoret Airport.

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