Kipchoge hopes to run his best at Delhi Half Marathon

"I consider Delhi Half Marathon as one of the best half-marathon races. I look forward to run my best, clock a strong timing on Sunday," Kenya's distinguished marathoner Eliud Kipchoge said ahead of Delhi's Half Marathon.

Eliud Kipchoge..."I want to inspire the people of India, especially the youth to take up to this sport."   -  PTI

One of the greatest marathoners of all time, Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya has said he has chosen to run in Sunday’s Delhi Half Marathon to inspire the people of India in taking up road running.

32-year-old Kipchoge, who will make his first competitive race appearance here after winning Rio Olympics marathon gold, is a living legend in Kenya for his achievements and for inspiring his countrymen to take up long distance running. “I love this country and the people. I want to inspire the people of India, especially the youth to take up to this sport. Road running is also good for health. I want to tell this to the people of India,” he said when asked what prompted him to take part on the Delhi Half Marathon.

“I consider Delhi Half Marathon as one of the best half-marathon races. I look forward to run my best, clock a strong timing on Sunday. My preparation has been good,” he told reporters at a press conference.

Kipchoge had been to India earlier as he had won a silver in 5000m race in 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games. He started running marathon races in 2012. Asked what is left to be achieved in his illustrious career, Kipchoge said, “I want to win all the world marathon majors and of course I want to achieve the world record.”

Out of the six world marathon majors, Kipchoge has won the Chicago, London and Berlin marathons. The other three are Boston, New York and Tokyo. Dennis Kimetto of Kenya holds the marathon world record timing of 2:02:57, while Kipchoge’s 2:03:05 in London Marathon this year was the all time third-fastest.

Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele has the second fastest time of 2:03:03.

Strong line-up

Kipchoge, who has a personal best time of 59.25 minutes in half-marathon, will lead a strong men’s elite field at Delhi Half Marathon on Sunday. Other top runners include Yigrem Demelash (59.49) of Ethiopia, Gladwin Mzazi (61.12) and rising Tanzanian runner Alphonce Sambu (62.58) who was placed fifth in the Rio Olympics marathon.

Among elite women’s field, reigning world half-marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya will be the hot favourite to win the race. Other top competitors include Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia and Gladys Chesir (who finished third at Delhi Half marathon last year).

The starting line-up on Sunday will be one of the best so far at Delhi Half Marathon with 13 athletes who competed at Rio Olympics. The organisers said the course records - 59.06 for men and 1:06:54 for women - can come under threat with such a strong elite field in the fray.

Kipchoge was also presented with the Marathon Runner of the Year trophy by Hugh Jones, the secretary of the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races. Kipchoge could not be present at the AIMS Awards Night in Athens on November 14.