After failing to impress in London in April, two-time world marathon champion Abel Kirui is hoping to defend his title in Chicago in October. Kirui placed fourth in London in 2:07:45 last month in a race won by Daniel Wanjiru (2:05:48).
In the 2016 edition of Chicago Marathon, the Kirui (2:11.23) prevailed over Dickson Chumba (2:11.26). Kirui is out of the August’s World Championships plans as Athletics Kenya have already named a team forb the global show.
“My training at the moment is focused on defending my in Chicago Marathon in October,” said Kirui. After participating in London Marathon, Kirui took a few days off training but he is already back as he trails his sights on retaining the crown in Chicago.
“I was relaxing a little bit after London but now I have started my training again. Marathon needs lot of preparations and that is why I want to fine tune my body ahead of the race,” said Kirui who comes from Nandi County.
Kirui won the titles at both the 2009 and 2011 World Championships before settling for a silver medal in his speciality at the 2012 London Olympics. His double feat made him the third man to successfully defend the marathon world title after Abel Anton of Spain (1997 and 1999) and Jaouad Gharib of Morocco (2003 and 2005)
Kirui has a personal best time of 2:05.04, which he set at the 2009 Rotterdam Marathon. “Being consistent on the track calls for a lot of discipline and hard work and on has to plan well for his races.”
He said he is happy that already some athletes who, he has mentored are following in his footsteps. “I still have some years as an active runner before I can switch to nurturing talents,” he added.
Kirui first ventured into international marathon in 2006 in Berlin as a pace maker and placed ninth. He returned to the same race the following year as a pace setter again, pushing the winner Haile Gebrselassie to a world record of 2:04.26 as he finished second. He graced 2008 Vienna Marathon, winning in a new course record of 2:07.38.