What you need to know:
- ‘He has what it takes because is he in a unique moment for his career where he has enough experience but still fresh,’ says star’s coach
- Breakthrough? Rising Kenyan star hopes to make the big break in iconic World Marathon Majors race in London
“This is my time!” That was the precise answer from Kenya’s lone ranger, 2019 World marathon bronze medallist Amos Kipruto, when asked about his expectations for Sunday’s London Marathon.
The 30-year-old from Kapsabet said being the only Kenyan in the race gives him good pressure to work hard and deliver, knowing that 50 million-plus Kenyans will be watching him.
“Some opportunities come only once and I have a strong feeling that this is my time. This is a huge opportunity for me to win my first major, and I hope everything goes well for me on Sunday,” said Kipruto, who is making his debut at the London Marathon.
Mental and physical form
“I know I am the only Kenyan in the race but have the capability to do well and perhaps help my country recapture the London title,” said Kipruto, who has been preparing for the race for the last five months under coach Claudio Berardelli and the Gianni Demadonna management.
Olympic champion and world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge is the last Kenyan to win in London, sealing his fourth victory in the British capital in a course time of two hours, two minutes and 37 seconds in 2019.
Kipruto said his mental and physical form is better than when he finished second behind Kipchoge at the Tokyo Marathon on March 6 this year in personal best 2:03:13.
Kipchoge won in a course record 2:02:40.
“After Tokyo Marathon, I took a break to recover but I have been training for five months. I am here not to try but win the title,” said Kipruto.
He predicted fast times “if good weather and pacesetting will permit,” adding that it’s his wish to take down some minutes off his personal best.
Kipruto noted that having a strong training group that has the likes of Vincent Kipchumba, who finished second during the 2020 and 2011 London Marathon, last year’s Boston Marathon champion Benson Kipruto, Hamburg marathon champion Cyprian Kotut and Vanice Chebet has pushed him to be a better athlete.
“You can never be scared of anything in such a group. I am sure the end results will manifest itself on Sunday, God willing,” explained Kipruto.
Kipruto had the fourth fastest time in Sunday’s field of 2:03:13 behind Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41), Birhanu Legesse (2:02:48) and Mosinet Geremew (2:02:55).
Defending champion Sisay Lemma, also from Ethiopia, has a personal best 2:03:36.
Kipruto paid tribute to his coach Berardelli, saying he has had quite an interesting time with them for many years.
“He has transformed me into a world class athlete, running the World Marathon Majors and championship races. I am glad he will be there on Sunday to watch me. He has been a mentor to me,” said Kipruto as he described Berardelli as a superhero to many.
“I have learnt a lot from him in and out of athletics. He has been more than a father and a parent and it’s my prayer that I will make him happy on Sunday,” said Kipruto.
Berardelli noted that Kipruto’s calmness is what has amazed him and that the time for his athlete to win his first major marathon has come.
‘One of the protagonists’
“He has what it takes because is he in a unique moment for his career where he has enough experience but still fresh,” said Berardelli, adding that finishing second in Berlin in 2018, third in 2018 Tokyo and second in 2022 Tokyo coupled with a bronze at the 2019 World Athletics Championships set the stage for Kipruto.
“He is now one of the protagonists in a marathon like London which is no doubt the most competitive race. It will be tough but we are here and training went on well in Kapsabet,” said Berardelli, adding that Kipruto has the right mixer of tension but at the same time relaxed.
“This is a good sign of someone who has done what is required of him but of course every season demands a different approach.
“Kipruto’s body is still in long adaption, changing season by season,” said Berardelli, adding that his protégée is in good shape as he was in Tokyo, but cautioned that every marathon has its own intricacies.