The world record-holder’s performance at the London Marathon on Sunday will determine his summer plans as the Kenyan aims for a spot in Rio or a world record attempt in Berlin
Dennis Kimetto is targeting a win, possibly in a course record time, when he returns to Virgin Money London Marathon action on Sunday (April 24).
After enjoying such success in 2014, the world record-holder finished third on his London debut last year and dropped out of both the IAAF World Championships marathon in Beijing and the Fukuoka Marathon in December, but believes he can bounce back in London with a fast time and a top position.
The Kenyan, who ran 2:02:57 in Berlin in 2014 to improve the world record which had been set by his countryman Wilson Kipsang the year before, says he is now completely over the leg problems which prevented him from racing past 5km in Japan and that good training and preparation means he believes he can beat the top field assembled for Sunday.
Defending champion Eliud Kipchoge is considered favourite to take this year’s title, having been the No.1 marathoner in 2015 and with a record that includes five wins from his six marathons run so far, while Kipsang, New York City Marathon winner Stanley Biwott, world champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie and Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele are also among those who will be lining up.
But pleased with his progress, Kimetto is in a confident mood.
“My training has been good and I’ve got no injuries,” says the 32-year-old, who used February’s Granollers Barcelona Half Marathon, where he finished seventh, to test himself ahead of his marathon return
On his fitness now against when he ran his world record, he explains: “If you compare, it is the same.”
Rather than see the top field as a threat, Kimetto believes it will help him to achieve his goals and he has his sights on Kipsang’s time of 2:04:29 run in 2014.
“For me on Sunday I need to run a good time and get a good position,” he says. “Maybe the course record.
“Because Kipchoge and Kipsang are there, we need to push together.”
For not only is a strong performance in the British capital important to Kimetto to prove a return to form, it will also determine his summer plans as the Kenyan targets either a place on the team for the Rio Olympics or a world record attempt in Berlin in early autumn. The Kenyan federation is due to announce its marathon team for the Games early next week,
“First of all I need to finish London and then we will see,” he says. “My focus is to finish in London with a good time and a good position.
“If they select me to go to Rio, I am ready to go. If they don’t select me, I am going to Berlin.
“Maybe I will try in September to get the world record.”
As the only man to have ever run sub-2:03 for 26.2 miles, where does Kimetto believe he can take the world record to next?
“For me,” he says, “I am targeting around 2:02:40.”