Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 January 2020

Marius Kipserem looks to put his best foot forward at Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon

Kenyan confident of retaining title and improving his time on Friday

Marius Kipserem during the press conference for the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon on Wednesday. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Marius Kipserem during the press conference for the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon on Wednesday. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Marius Kipserem will be bringing his best form to the table as he bids to retain the Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon on Friday.

The Kenyan won the inaugural 2018 event in the capital city in a personal best time of two hours, four minutes and 12 seconds and is confident of going even better.

“My preparations have gone well and I feel I have come for this race on top of my game,” he said at the pre-race conference at the Radisson Blu Hotel on Wednesday.

“Obviously there are challenges and that’s expected but having done this last year and for the work I have put in, I know what it takes to win this race again. I want to retain my title, hopefully, with a better time.”

Kipserem, 31, arrives for his title defence after winning the Rotterdam Marathon in April in a course record time of 2:04:11, improving the previous best time by 16 seconds.

“I came to Abu Dhabi in fine shape and then Rotterdam was a continuation of my preparation,” Kipserem, who is targeting the London Marathon in April to achieve qualification for the Tokyo Games, added.

“After Abu Dhabi, I have London as my next target. I consider this as a good trial for the Tokyo Olympics.

“London is very important for me because a good result can earn me a spot in Kenya's four-member marathon team at the Olympics.”

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - December 04, 2019: Press conference for the ADNOC Marathon Abu Dhabi 2019. Wednesday, December 4th, 2019. Raddison Blu, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Stage is set for the ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Joining Kipserem at the pre-race conference were his compatriot Lucas Rotich and Ethiopian Abrha Milaw, who tasted victory at the Paris Marathon in April.

“Like everyone else in this race, I have come prepared to challenge for the prize,” Milaw said.

Rotich was fifth in the Hamburg Marathon in April and he believes that effort has him in good shape for Abu Dhabi.

“I went into that race after some rehab for my injuries and that wasn’t a bad effort (2:09:48). I’m not here to make the numbers and am looking forward for Friday,” he added.

With the defending champion Ababel Yeshaneh of Ethiopia not returning to defend her crown, the battle lines appears to be drawn between Kenyan Vivian Kiplagat and last year’s runner up Eunice Chumba, the Kenyan who runs under Bahrain's flag.

Kiplagat will be running her fourth marathon for the year. She was successful in the Milano Marathon on April 7, was runner-up in Eldoret, Kenya, two weeks later, and won the Maratón Ciudad de México in August.

“It’s been a busy year. I come into this race in good shape and obviously want to win,” she said.

Chumba, who clocked 2:20:54 in Abu Dhabi last year, said her target was to improve that time.

“If I can improve my previous best time in Abu Dhabi, then I’ll have a chance to win as well,” she said.

The race carries a total prize fund of $388,000 (Dh1.4m) for the elite runners with the winner of the men’s and women’s races receiving $100,000 each.

According to the organisers, this year’s race has more than 16,000 registered runners across the marathon, 10km, 5km and the 2.5km races.

Updated: December 4, 2019 07:31 PM

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