Eliud Kiptanui, 2010 -real, Berlin Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net
With Haile Gebrselassie not running in Dubai this year, for the first time in four years, the little Emperor will not be the winner. Pat Butcher suggests that Eliud Kiptanui might be the logical choice for a winner of this marathon.
Kiptanui is a very talented marathoner. Last spring, Kiptanui ran a brilliant 2:05:39, shattering the Prague Marathon‘s course record. Volker Wagner, Kiptanui’s coach and manager, told Pat Butcher, our globe runner, that Kiptanui is well trained, healthy, and wants to take a stab at the world record.
Mr. Kiptanui could run very fast at Dubai, however, a 2:05 race in Dubai, if the weather permits, would be a herculean effort. Still, Eliud Kiptanui is quite a talent. The marathon gods, however, have this way of demanding respect from the talented and reckless. The key in marathon running is to get as close to the line of being reckless that one can without paying for the consequences of one’s actions!
Stay tuned for Friday’s race!
Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon Preview, by Pat Butcher
The marathon world came
face to face with mortality recently, when Haile Gebrselassie announced his
retirement. That was soon rescinded. But after three consecutive (and rapid)
victories in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, the old master leaves the
‘world’s richest marathon’ this coming Friday (21) open to a posse of young
pretenders to his crown.
With first place (men and
women) paying a quarter of a million dollars, and a cool million for a world
record, there is no shortage of takers to follow the Ethiopian onto the list of
Dubai winners, if not the world record ranks.
Fittingly, there are six
sub-2.07 men, with another ten who have broken 2.10; but the youngster who tops
that list might just be the man to beat.
An ‘unknown’ East African
winning a marathon in a fast time is hardly news nowadays. But Eliud Kiptanui’s
2.05.39 victory in Prague last May was, as they say, a bit special.
The 20 year old had won a
marathon at home, in hot and humid conditions four months earlier, in 2.12.34.
But on a Prague course not noted for its rapidity, due to stretches of
cobblestones, Kiptanui made all the running, with a second half faster than the
first, and took two minutes off the course record, with the 17th
fastest in history.
His second European
marathon was not so successful, but a fifth place in Berlin four months later,
in 2.08.05 (a world record two decades earlier) could hardly be called a failure
for a young man learning his trade.
But his run in Fukuoka just
over two months later created another sensation. Engaged as a mid-race
pacemaker, Kiptanui was told, contrary to his wishes, that he could not finish
the race. But when the previous pacemaker was slower than intended, Kiptanui
took off and covered the next five kilometres a minute faster than required. Cue
So much so that, even
though he slowed over the next 10k, an official stood in front of him with a red
flag at 30k, to ensure he didn’t forget to drop out.
Kiptanui’s manager Volker
Wagner explains, “He was too impatient, too strong, he put in too much effort.
He slowed down, but it was too late, only the winner (Jaouad Gharib) could
follow him; the meet director was really mad.
“But he’s in good shape for
Dubai. There’s no pressure, no appearance money, and he can do whatever he
wants. He wants to go for the world record at some point, but maybe not this
time; just run the course, see what it’s like, and prepare for next
Chala Dechase and Eshetu
Wendimu have already had that induction, in finishing second and third to their
illustrious compatriot last year. And giving him quite a scare in the process.
First Chala caught Geb at 33k, then Eshetu joined them shortly afterwards, and
for eight kilometres, they traded strides with the world record holder before he
eased away to victory.
But Chala’s 2.06.33 and
Eshetu’s 2.06.46 are more than adequate preparation. And if Evans Cheruiyot has
finally got over the injuries which have hampered him since his Chicago 2008
win, in a personal best 2.06.05, then he too should figure.
Add to the mix, Deressa
Chimsa (2.07.54), Sammy Mugo (2.08.20), Dejene Yordaw (2.08.30), Muguleta Wami
(2.08.32), David Kemboi (2.08.34), Dereje Tesfaye (2.08.36), Laban Kipkemboi
(2.08.38), and that’s a recipe for a burn-up. And while Gert Thys at 39 may not
be the force he was when he ran 2.06.33, the South African showed all his
tenacity in finishing second in a rain-swept Beijing Marathon last
Former winners, Berhane
Adere and Askale Magarsa of Ethiopia lead the women’s contenders for victory
(and $250.000). But Helena Kirop, third last year, and record breaking winner in
Prague four months later is just as likely as Kiptanui to make it a double
double for the pair of young Kenyans.
But she will have to
contend with a half dozen fast Ethiopians, since in addition to Berhane
(2.20.42) and Askale (2.21.31), there is also Atsede Baysa (2.22.02), Aselefech
Mergia (2.22.38), Koren Yelela (2.24.33), and Roba Guta, just two seconds
There will be more than 14,000 competitors in the three
events on Friday morning, the marathon, 10k and 3k Fun
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