Former Macao Marathon champion Stephen Kwelio Chemlany is leading a slew of Kenyan stars at this year’s Prague Marathon on May 6.
Chemlany has had a good performance in Asia, winning in China and South Korea at the Seoul Marathon.
However, he seeks to dominate a new fortress as he heads to Europe, eyeing the Prague title against a top international lineup, which includes Chicago Marathon champion Galen Rupp.
“It will have top names because the course there is good. But it is down to what you do in your preparations and then wait to see how the opponents perform against your running. I have no worries of injuries and am focused on doing the job right in Prague,” Chemlany said on Wednesday from Eldoret, Kenya.
Chemlany, who has been training in the USA, was runner-up at the 2011 Berlin Marathon and came fourth at the 2013 Berlin Marathon.
He leads five Kenyan runners including Japhet Kosgei (2:08:88), Barselius Kipyego, who clocked 2:13:06 last year in Ljubljana, Duncan Maiyo and Felix Kibitok, who is making his debut in the marathon.
America’s Rupp, who dropped out of the Boston Marathon two weeks ago, is hopeful to be back to fitness just 20 days after his failed attempt in his home country.
Rupp dropped out of Boston Marathon, which was held under cold and windy conditions, because of breathing and hypothermia problems.
The course record in Prague is held by Kenya’s Eliud Kiptanui at 2:05:39 and has stood the test of time since 2010. In each of the last nine editions of Prague Marathon, the winning time has been under two hours and nine minutes.
Rupp’s personal best is 2:09:20, which he ran to win last year’s Chicago Marathon in October.
Other athletes expected to race in Prague include Sisay Lemma of Ethiopia (2:04:08), Bazu Worku (2:05:25), Mekuant Ayenew (2:09:00) and Japan’s Suehiro Ishikawa (2:09:10).