The Kenyan has his sights set on a second consecutive victory in London
Defending champion Amos Kipruto has confirmed he’ll go for the London Marathon course record of 2:02:37 on Sunday when he defends his title at the event.
The 30-year-old Kenyan has enjoyed just six short months as London Marathon champion, due to last year’s event being held in October, but revealed earlier today that his training has gone well and he’s in great shape to not only challenge for the win, but go for a new course record too.
“I’m really happy to be here again,” said Kipruto. “Winning in London last year was great for me, in terms of visibility, and gave me the chance to be here again this year. The fans really give you morale, and that pushes you.
“I’m looking forward to Sunday; I’ll be with the fast guys at the front. I know Sunday will be tough for me, and for everyone, but I’m ready.”
Two of the ‘fast guys at the front’, who will try to prevent Kipruto doing the double on Sunday, are his countryman Kelvin Kiptum and Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola – formidable opponents in a stacked men’s field that features four of the fastest five men in history.
Kiptum arrives in London full of confidence after making the fastest marathon debut ever last December, when he won the Valencia Marathon in 2:01:53 to become the third-fastest man in history over the marathon distance, behind Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele.
He was quick to acknowledge that his debut was a dream come true, but also revealed he expected a good performance, after recording several sub-59-minute times over the half-marathon distance.
“I was not expecting to find the marathon difficult,” said Kiptum. “I knew I could do it. I was expecting to run 2:03; that was my target.
“I enjoyed the race in Valencia; it was perfect.”
But 23-year-old Kiptum was looking forwards not backwards today, when he talked about his hopes for his London Marathon debut on Sunday.
“I come to London for a win; that’s my target,” he said. “I’m not ready to go for a world record, but I’ve come to win in London.”
Tola, who finished fourth behind Kiptum at the 2022 Valencia Marathon, will be hoping for a better result on Sunday, when he stands on the London Marathon Start Line for the third time.
“Valencia was a good race for me,” he said. “I made a mistake with my pacing, but I finished. We will see on Sunday. I’ve done more training and have a lot of experience from that.”
The 31-year-old Ethiopian has finished in sixth place at his two previous London Marathons, in 2019 and 2020, but coming to the event as the reigning World Champion after winning in Oregon in 2022 is sure to give him confidence on Sunday.
“The London Marathon is not new for me; I’ve run here twice before, and I’ve prepared well in training and will run a fast time again – maybe a PB I think.
“I hope we can all help each other to have a good run on Sunday.”
Whatever happens at the race, all three men were united in their praise of Sir Mo Farah, who announced earlier in the day that the 2023 TCS London Marathon will be his last ever race over the distance.
“Mo Farah is a great inspiration for the younger generation like us,” said Kipruto, “so I’m looking forward to running with him on Sunday and I wish him good luck.”
The prospect of racing against Farah will also be a motivating factor for Kiptum, as he gets set to race the distance for only the second time.
“I saw Mo when I was young and he’s a great athlete,” he said. “I used to say, ‘I will compete with Mo Farah one day’, so I’m very excited to race with him.”
Tola agreed, saying: “I’m happy I’ll run with Mo on Sunday – maybe he’ll run with us.”