Champ Kipngetich, Kimutai lead strong Kenya challenge for Istanbul Marathon

NAIROBI, Nov. 10 (Xinhua) — Defending champion Ruth Chepngetich and Marius Kimutai of Kenya will start as the favorites at the Istanbul Marathon in Turkey on Sunday.

Kimutai, who boast of a 2:05:47 personal best time, which he achieved in Rotterdam two years ago says he is focused on making the Kenya team to the World Championships in Doha, Qatar in October.

Kimutai finished his recent seven marathons well under 2:10, the Kenyan is also a candidate to break the 2:10:42 race record set by Kenyan Vincent Kiplagat in 2010, a performance that is also the Turkish all-comers record.

“I am in top form and have done well in training as par the program that the coach set for me. I always have respect for other runners because everyone believes he is the best.

But to win in Istanbul will be a great step for me in my quest to make the Kenya team to the Olympics and World Championships,” said Kimutai on Saturday.

Kimutai will face challenge from Ethiopia’s Getu Feleke, whose career best of 2:04:50 set at the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon makes him the fastest on paper.

More recently, Feleke clocked 2:07:46 at the Frankfurt Marathon last year. However, 21-year-old Bahraini Abdi Ibrahim Abdo, who has a fresh PB of 2:08:32 from Rome this year, is expected to be a strong contender as well.

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