Nairobi, Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich, who trains near Eldoret, will become the first Olympic champion to compete at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 21.
The Kenya-based athlete, who trains in Kattegat together with current Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge under Dutch based management company Global Sport Communications, will accompany two-time Toronto champion Philemon Rono from their training base as they battle for the honours in Canada next month where the winner will take $24,000 in prize money, reports Xinhua news agency.
The trio is coached by 1992 Olympic steeplechase silver medallist Patrick Sang.
“I am really happy and training hard and looking forward to competing in this big race in Toronto,” says Kiprotich, who also won the marathon title at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, joining Ethiopia’s Gezehegne Abera as the only men to ever win both major competitions.
“I asked Rono what is the course like,” he says of the man who set a Canadian all-comers’ record of 2:06:52 in Toronto a year ago.
“He said the course is good and nice. If we go fast and run the first half in 63 minutes, we can push at the end to 2:05. It is possible.”
Kiprotich’s major championship success is outstanding and all the more remarkable since he chose to make Kaptagat his training base.
“I train here because my friends are here and I have good company. My home is about six hours drive by car. I go home on the weekends and sometimes when my family needs me. But sometimes when I am preparing for a big race, I stay in the camp for one month without going home.”
Despite his tremendous success and uncanny ability to peak at the right time, Kiprotich knows his personal best of 2:06:33 deserves to be substantially reduced.
“I have the two medals but also I want to run a faster time than 2:05,” he said.
“Most of the people they look at my times and they ask me how did you win these two medals in poor times? So it is my hope to run a good time before I retire.”
Kiprotich and Rono can expect some stiff competition from New Zealand’s Jake Robertson who debuted with a national record of 2:08:26 earlier this year.
All three are looking for a time faster than the course record if the weather permits.