Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NYC bound: Mary Keitany

Chris Musumba reports for DailyNation
Salina Kosgei, the 2009 Boston Marathon champion, must be dreading the arrival of Sunday. For a long time her training partner, world 25km record holder Mary Keitany, has envied her exploits. Keitany has successfully carved a niche in half marathon and Kosgei stood out in full marathon but, for the first time, they will meet in the 42km in New York City.

As they depart for the US today, Keitany has the audacity to dream of another feather in her cap: “I’m ready for battle although it has been different training for a marathon. It is not easy – doing 40, 30 or 15 kilometres in succession – but I believe I am capable of challenging at the top.”

The former World half marathon winner raced to a one hour 19 minutes 53 seconds world record over the 25km distance in Berlin in May. Boasting three of the top 12 half marathon times ever, she is yet to lose a half marathon race since 2007.

No idea what to expect

“It will be my debut in the marathon and I have no idea how my body will react in the last miles, but I’m confident,” said the 28-year-old runner, whose debut will be the latest in a long list in the marathon.

Keitany however looks up to her compatriot Tegla Loroupe’s 1994 victory for inspiration.

“It will be my second time to run in the Americas; I ran in the World Best 10k in Puerto Rico in January. New York is a new challenge to me and I’ve no idea what to expect,” said Keitany, who also won the 21km in Lisbon.

Worthy men’s title contenders include Kenya’s World marathon champion Abel Kirui and Emmanuel Mutai. Last year Kirui was third in Rotterdam in 2:05:04 and won the IAAF World Championships Marathon in an event record 2:06:54 while in 2007 he clocked 2:06:51 behind Haile Gebrselassie as the Ethiopian set the 2:04:26 marathon world record in Berlin.

Others are Gebrselassie and his countryman Gebre Gebremariam, Arata Fujiwara (Japan), and USA’s defending champion Meb Keflezighi and 2009 World Half Marathon bronze medallist Dathan Ritzenhein.

Martin Lel and Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot are out injured.