Kenya’s World marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto remains focused on completing his recovery and to compete strongly at the Chicago marathon this weekend.
Kimetto, 33, wants to start over again his career after struggling to finish in the top three since setting the world record of 2:02:57 in 2014 in Berlin.
He was the first runner to break 2:03 in a marathon – significant to this year’s race as a Nike project is working with athletes to break the two-hour mark.
Kimetto, who struggled with injuries the last two seasons, will be running in Chicago for the first time since setting the course record in 2013 in a blistering 2:03:45.
“I am in training and don’t want to put any demands on myself. It has been frustrating and I tell you all that matters now is to get back on the starting line-up and compete. How the body will take that pressure is something I can’t tell right now,” Kimetto said on Monday from Eldoret.
Kimetto has lost so much value despite him being the world record holder. He has registered many Dnfs (did not finish), Dns (did not start) and below par performance in the last two years.
Last year Kimetto was forced out of Chicago marathon with a stress fracture in his left leg. “If things go as planned, I want to break the course record in Chicago,” he said last year.
Before Chicago last year, Kimetto pulled out of Boston marathon having injured his knee in training and needed some stitches.
“I’m confident to be back. One step back, two steps in front. My preparation so far going very well because I have been injury free and very motivated since June,” said Kimetto.
Alongside his win and world record in Berlin 2014, Kimetto has also secured victory in Tokyo and Chicago.
But should he keep up the trend and be at the starting line up on Oct. 8, the Kenyan will have to so meet with stiff challenge from defending champion and compatriot Abel Kirui, who will be returning after defeating 2015 winner Dickson Chumba by three seconds.
The race will also feature half-marathon world-record holder Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea.
In the women’s race, defending champion Florence Kiplagat of Kenya heads the international field. Kiplagat will be aiming for her third consecutive victory and fourth podium finish in Chicago.
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, the world-record holder at 5,000 meters, could challenge in the women’s field. Kenyan runner Valentine Kipketer, 24, also returns to Chicago after last year’s third-place finish in 2:23:41.
Kiplagat, 30, is well-known in Chicago after winning the marathon in 2015 and 2016 and finishing second in 2014.
She recorded the 13th-fastest women’s time in race history with last year’s 2:21:32. Dibaba, 32, started 2017 strong by finishing second in London in 2:17:56.