Kenya’s Edwin Kiptoo will heading to Beirut to defend his title at the 15th edition of the Blom Bank Beirut Marathon that will be held on Sunday 12 November in Beirut, Labanon.
The 29 year old will who won the race last in a time of 2:13.19 will bear the pressure of defending his title.
“I remember something big,” he says of his initial trip to Beirut. “I didn’t expect to win the race, so, when I think back to Beirut, I just remember a big victory in my running career.
It was a highlight in my running career, a day that I won’t forget in my life. I believe that when you train hard and are disciplined in all that you are doing in your daily life, you will get victories. I believe that being the boss over your own life will make you reach far.”
After finishing third at the 2016 Brighton Marathon, a race in which he set his PB best time of 2:11.29, he turned his attention to a an autumn marathon accepting an invitation to race Beirut.
Recent changes to the course, including the removal of a lengthy and stamina-testing 14% climb along the Mediterranean coast, will certainly help this year’s field challenge the event record of 2:11.04 set by Jackson Limo in 2015. Certainly, Kiptoo believes he is up to the task.
He reveals his training has been going extremely well and he can certainly point to some fine results which have boosted his confidence. He won the Luxembourg Night Marathon early this year when he cut the tape in 2:16.55 and then finished second in the Hamburg Half Marathon. More recently he came close to beating his personal best half marathon time of 1:00.11.
“My training this year had been going very well. On October 1st I won the Breda half marathon in 1:00.43,” he declares.
I feel the body is still strong and I was fresh when I finished the race. I am now counting down the weeks and doing my last part of the training towards Beirut. I am happy to defend my title.”
My goal is to improve my time and also to retain my position of last year. Though I have pressure as defending champion, I know I can make it.”
Kiptoo who runs Volare Sports, he trains in Iten with a talented group of marathoners known as Mwisho wa Lami. The group includes former world record holder Wilson Kipsang and John Komen.
The latter has a personal best of 2:07.13 a time that Kiptoo would certainly like to beat one day.
The Beirut Marathon founded in 2003 by May El Khalil who remains Chairperson of the organization.
Ms. El Khalil was hit by a truck while out running 20 years ago and while enduring a lengthy hospital stay she conceived the idea of having an elite world class marathon in the Lebanese capital.
World marathon record holders Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia), Paula Radcliffe (Great Britain) as well as Lord Sebastian Coe, President of the IAAF have attended the marathon over the past three years an indication that interest in the event is growing at a phenomenal rate.
If Kiptoo wins the race this year he would be the second person to defend his title since Ethiopia’s Mohammed Temam who did it in 2010.
The winner will pocket $15,000.