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Kipsang targets new course record at London Marathon

15 January 2014, 12:00

Nairobi - World marathon record holder Wilson Kipsang is eyeing a new course record when he lines up for the 2014 London Marathon on April 13.

However, Kipsang is alive to the caliber of challenge that he will face as the organizers have confirmed a list of elite runners that includes the best over the 42-kilometer distance.

"It is hard to break the world record in London. So what I plan is to set a new course record and hopefully, I will travel back to Berlin to try and lower down the world mark in September," Kipsang told Xinhua Tuesday in Iten.

Kipsang broke the world record when he won last September's Berlin Marathon in two hours, three minutes and 23 seconds. He will be keen to regain the London Marathon title he won in 2012 just a few months before claiming the bronze medal at the London Olympics.

"It is true I want my London marathon title back. There are no doubts about that, but it will all depend on the level of fitness of the other opponents," he said.

Kipsang was fifth in last year's race when Tsegaye Kebede of Ethiopia triumphed in London for the second time.

The Kenyan looked odds on to win again last year until Kebede overtook him in the final mile.

There is a new twist in this year's line up. Britain will be hoping their own and world 10,000m champion Mo Farah will successfully glide from track to win the London marathon on his debut this April.

Farah's inclusion of course symbolizes athletics' eternally changing order. When you throw in Olympic and world marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich, the 2011 world bronze medallist Feyisa Lilesa, and London course record holder Emmanuel Mutai, it becomes toxic.

But the Kenyan challenge is completed by Stanley Biwott, the 2012 Paris Marathon champion who was eighth in London last April, and Martin Mathathi, winner of the 2013 Fukuoka Marathon.

The field also includes Marilson dos Santos of Brazil, the two-times New York champion who was fourth in 2011.

Farah, 30, ran his fastest half marathon when second in the Great North Run last September and has since been training hard for his first marathon race.

"I gained a lot of valuable experience running part of the course alongside the top guys last year and can't wait to race over the full distance this April," said Farah, who will have an eye on the long-standing London record of 2:07.13.

"The London Marathon always attracts the world's best runners to its elite fields and this year will be no different. I am expecting it to be one of my toughest races and a real learning experience," said Farah in a statement from the organizers.

"I had another great year on the track in 2013, but the marathon is my main focus for this year. As a young boy growing up in London it has always been my ambition to run the London Marathon and to be able to make my marathon debut in my home town is very special."

- Xinhua


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