Mutai on mission, Kiplangat debuts

Prowling Duo. Kiplangat (L) and Mutai will be on track at the Istanbul Marathon chasing tickets to next year’s Oregon World Championships. PHOTOS/AFP & NIKE NN RUNNING

What you need to know:

  • Eyes On Oregon. Like Mutai and Kiplangat in Istanbul, marathon national record holder Filex Chemonges will hope to run faster at the Barcelona Marathon so as to have a better shot at a slot to next year’s Oregon World Championships.

Solomon Mutai was let down by the failure to complete the Xiamen Marathon in Tuscany, Italy back on April 11. Having suffered a stitch after 33km in Tuscany, Mutai was not considered by Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) for selection to the Tokyo Olympics. However, being a very calm man, his character allowed him to accept the decision and he chose to soldier on.

 Four months later, Mutai has picked up himself and will run his 16th career race at the 43rd Istanbul Marathon in the Turkish capital today. “I am ready,” the 28-year-old said before departing on Thursday.  Mutai has not completed two of his last three marathons because of a stitch but he has big plans in Istanbul, where his compatriot Victor Kiplangat is also set to debut over the 42km distance. The 2015 world bronze medallist and 2018 Commonwealth silver medallist Mutai is intent on landing a ticket to next July’s World Athletics Championships slated for Oregon, USA. 

In that, he must post a time under the qualifying standard of 2:11:30. “I am looking to run maybe two hours and eight minutes or less if it is a good course,” said the Bukwo-based runner.  His personal best is 2:08:25, set when he came third at the Vienna Marathon in Austria two years ago. Can he repeat the act? “Yes I can,” said, “The body is okay. I pray to be at the World Championships,” he added.

Early groove
 Similarly, Kiplangat, who is tutored by Addy Ruiter and managed by Jurrie van der Velden under the Global Sports Communication, is eyeing a sub-2:08 as well on debut.
 “He is well prepared,” said Ruiter. The 21-year-old warmed up for Istanbul by setting pace for the elite field during the London Marathon on October 3.
 Prior, Kiplangat did almost the same job at the Enschede Marathon in the Netherlands on April 4.
And in 2020, besides setting pace for Joshua Cheptegei to break the 10000m world record in Valencia, Spain, Kiplangat ran three 21km races, finishing seventh in Barcelona, Spain and Delhi, India. In Delhi, he posted a faster 59:26.

 The course in Istanbul is expected to be downhill for the first 5km near sea level and flat until nearly 40th km, according to organisers. “We still target nothing slower than 2:08:59. To me, 64 plus 65 minutes equals 2:09 which still seems realistic,” noted Ruiter. Both Mutai and Kiplangat however face a solid field which comprises ten men who have personal bests of sub-2:08 times.

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