Friday, April 29, 2011
Triple Belfast Marathon winner John Mutai will once again be aiming to capture a 4th title in Monday’s 30th running of the Deep RiverRock event (Start at the City Hall at 9am) . Governing body Athletics NI are celebrating their 30 year partnership with the event.
However this year the 44 year old Kenyan will face probably his toughest opposition yet in a bid to capture a possible £6,000 first prize which includes a roll over fund to break the course record.
Last year Mutai had to settle for second place after arch rival Urga Negewo of Ethiopia simply tracked the Kenyan for the entire 26 miles before unleashing a sprint finish to snatch a 6 secs victory. With an 18 year age advantage Negewo should fancy his chances of beating Mutai again even though the older man recorded another consistent 2hrs 16 mins marathon last autumn. This dual may not however occur as Negewo is still awaiting his visa to travel to the UK.
In any event both men might well have to play second fiddle to Ukranian Andriy Toptun who ran a world class 2hrs 12 mins time a year ago in Germany. In addition last autumn he ran under 2hrs 14 mins in the classy Dublin Marathon and followed this with a sub 2hrs 13 mins clocking to finish 2nd in Sacramento.