Karoki targets debut win against unique rivalry at Chicago marathon

File Photo : Bedan Karoki
IANS|01-Oct-2018 16:13

Nairobi, Oct 1 : Kenya's Bedan Karoki hopes he will finally break the duck and win his first marathon on October 7 when he lines up at the start of this year's Chicago marathon.

Karoki, 28, will be making his fourth attempt at the distance with his best effort having come in 2017 at the London marathon where he clinched the bronze medal on his debut in the race won by compatriot Daniel Wanjiru, reports Xinhua news agency.

He went on to finish fourth at the Fukuoka marathon and settled for fifth spot in a star-studded London marathon this year timing at 2:08:34. But that is about to change should the tail wind continue pushing him as he debuts in America.

"It is down to what I have learnt in the three previous races. That experience is critical and I know the field in Chicago is a strong one. It is something I am used to because I have run London twice and my performance was not bad despite missing a medal this year," said Karoki on Monday.

The Kenyan, who has pitched camp in high altitude areas of Nyahururu for the last one month since returning from his training base in Japan, feels he will be ready on Sunday to wrest the first marathon title in his career.

"I resumed training in June after a month's break from the London race," added Karoki. "I know top names like Mo Farah will be on parade and it inspires me to bring out the best performance. It will not be the first time I am running against Farah though. I believe the real danger is in the huge Kenyan representation in the race."

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Indeed, focus will be on the defending champion Galen Rupp, who became the first American to win the Chicago Marathon title since Moroccan-born American Khalid Khannouchi in 2002. Others are Dickson Chumba (2:04:32) and Abel Kirui (2:05:04), both former champions in Chicago.

There is also world champion Geoffrey Kirui (2:06:27), who won the Boston Marathon last year, before relinquishing his title to finish second this year under windy and rainy conditions.

Upcoming marathon runners like Kenneth Kipkemoi, Paul Lonyangata, Stephen Sambu and Augustine Choge are all training their guns on winning the title too.

But Karoki who this year won the Ras Al Khaimah International Half Marathon in United Arab Emirates clocking 58:42 in February and later finished second at the Buenos Aires Half Marathon (59:50) in August believes tactics will be critical for the eventual winner as he guns for the trophy to boost his chances of selection to Kenya team to the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

"I need to secure a few wins to my name. I believe Chicago will be good to me and that is why I must give it my best shot," said Karoki, who is trained by coach Francis Kamau.