Vincent Kipruto wants a PB in BMW Frankfurt: with miles to go before he sleeps, by Larry Eder

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Vincent Kipruto wins 2013 BMW Frankfurt Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net

Vincent Kipruto arrived in Frankfurt on Thursday afternoon. The defending champion at the BMW Frankfurt Marathon battled cold, wind and Mark Kiptoo in 2013 to take a hard won victory by one second! 

One second! 

Consider that for a moment.  One second is what separates a fast 5,000 meters, or perhaps a great 10k, or even a fast 100 meters.

But, a marathon? 

Vincent Kipruto has clear goals for the 2014 race, and they include a personal best (defending his title is also in his plan).
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Kiptoo, KIpruto and Kemboi, 2013 BMW Frankfurt marathon, 
photo by PhotoRun.net

Vincent Kipruto is one fast marathoner. He has run 2:05.13 and 2:05.33, and he has also taken a silver medal in the 2011 World Championships Marathon in Daegu. 

In 2013, Vincent won the Lake Biwa Marathon in 2:08.34, and then, in the fall of 2013, ran the BMW Frankfurt Marathon and won.

It was, as some would say, a cold and windy day. 

Vincent Kipruto and Mark Kiptoo battled for nearly 26.2 miles, and in the end, both runners were separated by one second. 

" Everyone who runs here wants to win the race," Vincent noted on Thursday night, while sitting at the media table. Vincent Kipruto respects his competitors, and does not think it is polite to be so specific about defeating his competition.

But, that, dear readers, is what Vincent Kipruto is here to do in 2014.

" I want to run a personal best in Frankfurt. It is a very fast course." Vincent noted in the official press conference for the 2014 BMW Frankfurt marathon today. 


Joining Vincent Kipruto in his desire to win are Tsegaye Mekonnen and Mark Kiptoo. 

Mark Kiptoo was the second placer in 2013. Mr. Kiptoo noted that he was in as fit as last year. " I want to run a personal best in Frankfurt." Listen to Mark speak, but spend more time considering his performances. In 2014, Mark Kiptoo ran 61:34, taking third in the BUPA Glasgow Half Marathon. With a PB of 60:29 for the half marathon and a seventh place in the World Cross Country, Mark Kiptoo is a worthy opponent. 

The other challenge for Vincent Kipruto is Tsegaye Mekonnen. The nineteen-year old Ethiopian ran 2:04.32 in his debut victory in Dubai, setting a pending world junior marathon record! 

His goal this year, and in this race? " I want to set the Ethiopian National record."

That is a tall order, but looks to be within Mr. Mekonnen's ability, as the record is a 2:03.59 from Mr. Haile Gebrselassie, the little Emperor. You know Mr. Gebrselassie, the man, the legend, twenty-six world records, from two miles to the marathon. Reverse my earlier statement: breaking the Ethiopian record is a tall order, for anyone but Tsegaye Mekonnen. 

Mekonnen, in his second marathon, ran 2:08.06, for fifth in the 2014 Virgin London marathon. For Mekonnen, his second marathon was a disaster, as the hype built after his Dubai run garnered strong expectations, and while a 2:08 is fast, it was not worthy of Mekonnen's 2:04.32 debut. 

But, as we all know, marathoning is a skill set developed over years, thousand of miles trained and hundreds of miles race. Tsegaye Mekonnen is an obviously talented athlete. 

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Tsegaye Mekonnen is one talented, marathoner, but, is he ready for BMW Frankfurt? photo by PhotoRun.net

The key for Mr. Mekonnen, is to develop that huge talent over the next decade. 

So, on Sunday, October 26, 2014, we can see Mark Kiptoo, Vincent Kipruto and Tsegaye Mekonnen, among others to do battle on the historic streets of Frankfurt, Germany. 

The late, great Bob Mathias, a gold medal winning decathlete in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics, winning his first before the age of nineteen, once told me that the decathlon was truly ten challenging events, from which one hoped not to screw up ten times. 

If we take that thought to the marathon, then, there are 26.2 miles or 42.22 kilometers from which one can make small errors that hurt one big time in the end. In my own humble marathoning experience, many years ago, it took me seven marathons to figure out how to break three hours: it was all about pacing and negative splits. 

Kipruto, Kiptoo and Mekonnen all spoke of the need for successful marathoners to learn about the event. So true, at whatever level. But, at the elite level, where 2:06 marathons no longer get the respect that they deserve, the difference between a 2:04 and blowing up, is well, a few fast miles early on, when one feels limitless. 

Mr. Kiptoo and Mr. Kipruto have asked for a 62:30 first half of the race on Sunday, from which, they believe, that, given good conditions (or, little wind), they can charge over the second half, and run the 2:04 or 2:05 time that they so desire. 

The weather looks good, but, just in case, I will roast a goat to appease the weather gods in Frankfurt. I sure hope I am not violating any local ordinances; probably should not do it in my hotel room. 

As this piece is about Vincent Kipruto, we will let him finish the piece with his deep thoughts. 

Vincent Kipruto, training with thirty of his fellow runners in Eldoret, has had a year to think about his one second win in Frankfurt last year. His 2013 win in Lake Biwa turned into a third place in 2014. 

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and, then, there was three....2013 BMW Frankfurt Marathon,  
photo by PhotoRun.net

A smart and talented runner, Vincent Kipruto knows that anyone can win, on the right day. Mr. Kipruto also knows the promise that this course holds, with Wilson Kipsang's 2:03.42 course record. 

"I am as fit as last year" noted Vincent Kipruto. 

What was not said was this: Vincent Kipruto wants to defend in Frankfurt, yes, but he also wants to join the few marathoners who have broken two hours and five minutes, and yes, perhaps, a bit faster? 

Vincent Kipruto wants to run a solid two hours, four minutes for the marathon. Will this Sunday be his day to run 2:04? 

Mr. Kipruto sure hopes so.

To paraphrase the late American poet, Robert Frost, who wrote the poem, Walking through the Woods on a snowy evening, Vincent Kipruto "has miles to go before he sleeps", restfully, on Sunday evening. Between now and Sunday, Vincent Kipruto can be excused if he sleeps fitfully.  

For Vincent Kipruto to sleep restfully on Sunday night, a new personal best and a second win at BMW Frankfurt would fit the bill. Mr. Kipruto, with Mekonnen and Kiptoo, in tow, and a wind to his back, will probably need to use his finely honed finishing sprint once again. 

But, Vincent Kipruto is ready for a close finish, as he has done that before. 

We will just have to wait and see now.....

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Vincent Kipruto won BMW Frankfurt in 2013, can he defend? He thinks so! 
photo by PhotoRun.net

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