Kampala- For the second time in a row, Stephen Kiprotich is against huge odds when faces a field of elite runners at the New York Marathon today.
On the World and Olympic champion’s second appearance at the event, Kiprotich will want to forget last year’s insipid show where he clocked 2:13:05 to finish a distant 12th place – his worst performance ever.
“New York will be war for me,” he said before leaving his training camp early this week for the 42km event, whose victory is staked at $100,000 (Shs270m) minus performance bonuses.
Normally, runners allow their bodies to partake in only two marathons a year. But by the time Kiprotich appeared in New York last year, he seemed drained after he had already participated and finished sixth in the London Marathon before taking gold at the Worlds in Moscow.
“Initially, my plan was to skip the World Championships in Moscow and compete in New York,” Kiprotich told Sunday Monitor earlier in an interview. “It’s common sense that I shouldn’t be doing more than two marathons in a year,” the 25-year-old said.
This year, aside from the London Marathon in April, where he (2:11:37) still had 11 men ahead of him, Kiprotich finished third behind homeboy Mo Farah and Kenyan Mike Kigen at the 13-mile Great North Run in Newcastle two months ago.
“Unlike last year, I believe I have prepared for New York a lot better and I am ready to fight to the final mile,” he added.
And knowing that he has never run under two hours and six minutes, Kiprotich’s second full marathon this year awaits stiff competition from a core of usual Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes who have posted much lower times before.
Kiprotich will new need new tricks against former world record (WR) holder Kenyan Wilson Kipsang, who could seal the 2013/14 World Marathon Major (WMM) series title if he crosses the Central Park finish-line first.
With 51 points, a win would move Kipsang’s tally to 76 and that will see him win the WMM ahead of another Kenyan David Kimetto (75) who won the Berlin Marathon in an WR time of 2:02:57 on September 28.
Meanwhile, Kipsang’s counterpart Geoffrey Mutai will be seeking to emulate Alberto Salazar (1980-1982) with three straight victories on the streets of the Big Apple.
1st $100,000 (Shs270m)
2nd $60,000 (Shs162m)
3rd $40,000 (Shs108m)
4th $25,000 (Shs67m)
5th $15,000 (Shs40m)
6th $12,500 (Shs33m)
7th $10,000 (Shs27m)
8th $5,000 (Shs13.5m)
10th $2,000 (Shs5.4m)