Abel Kirui and Augustine Choge are cut from a different cloth. But they are very much of the same fabric and will join the NN Running Team charge for the Chicago Marathon title on Sunday.
While Kirui is a two-time world marathon champion and previous winner in Chicago (2016), Choge, a middle distance track specialist and former world junior 1,500 and 3,000 metres champion, will be making his debut in Chicago.
Kirui, who came in second last year in the same race, says he’s well prepared to take on what he describes as a “strong field.”
“The field is rich and the athletes look strong, but I’m well prepared for the task ahead after good preparation,” said Kirui before flying out to Chicago on Tuesday night.
The 2011 and 2013 world marathon champion is also motivated after his NN Running Team teammate and training partner Eliud Kipchoge shattered the world record in Berlin last month.
“My training partner Kipchoge shattered the world record last month in Berlin and it’s an inspiration to us.
“We trained with him and I know I will be doing something good on Sunday because I’m in good shape,” said Kirui, who like Kipchoge, Choge and current world champion Geoffrey Kirui, is under Global Sports Communications stable in Kaptagat.
In April, Kirui came in fourth at the London Marathon after clocking two hours, six minutes and 21 seconds in a race won by Kipchoge.
Beaten by Mo Farah who was in third position in April, Kirui says he will run a good race as a sweet revenge to his opponents.
“It (Chicago) is a competitive race and I want to show them that I did some good training. Mo Farah beat me in London while Galen Rupp managed to clinch the Chicago title and I will be there to revenge against the two,” said Kirui who is also eyeing to represent Kenya once again in a championship race.
Kirui won his World Championships titles in Berlin, Germany (2009) and Daegu, South Korea (2011) before claiming silver at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
In 2015, he picked up an injury that ruled him out of competition before coming back to win in Chicago in 2016.
In 2017, Kirui was second position after USA’s Rupp beat him to the title.
His training mate Choge will be keen to follow in the footsteps of his seniors in the new ground of the marathon, and he will be comfortable running in the company of Kirui after a good sessions in Kaptagat.
“It’s my first marathon race and that means I don’t have enough experience, but my training has prepared me well for the task ahead. I’m happy my training partner Kirui will be there and I will look up to him as my senior,” said Choge.
Choge, like Kirui, is motivated by Kipchoge’s world record run powered by a good training group in Kaptagat.
“The team behind me has been great and training with the likes of Kipchoge and the New York Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor has been my great inspiration. I will be running my own race and I expect good performance,” said the athlete.
“I have competed in track, road races and cross country and as I graduate to marathon, I know this will be the peak of my performance and you should expect good results,” said the athlete.