Kenyan Champion Rono To Take On Uganda Ace Kiprotich In Toronto

Sep 13 - by SPN Correspondent for sportpesa news

Race organisers looking for faster time than the 2:06:52 ran to win last year's showdown

Toronto Marathon and NN Running team member, Philemon Rono poses at their Global Sports camp in Kaptagat. He will be out to defend his crown on October 21 against training partner and Uganda London 2012 Olympic winner, Stephen Kiprotich. PHOTO/NN Running/Courtesy

  • Over its decades-long history, the Toronto race has been graced by some of the world’s greatest marathoners, but never an Olympic champion
  • Kiprotich’s major championship success is outstanding and all the more remarkable since he chose to make Iten his training base
  • Despite his tremendous success and uncanny ability to peak at the right time, Kiprotich knows his personal best of 2:06:33 deserves to be substantially reduced
  • Kiprotich and Rono can expect some stiff competition from New Zealand’s Jake Robertson who debuted with a national record of 2:08:26 earlier this year

TORONTO, Canada- Kenyan two-time champion Philemon Rono will take on training partner and London 2012 Olympic winner, Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda in the October 21 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Over its decades-long history, the Toronto race has been graced by some of the world’s greatest marathoners, but never an Olympic champion but that will change when Rono accompanies Kiprotich to this IAAF Gold Label event.

The pair are both friends and training partners in Iten, but each will want to take home the CAD$30,000 (KSh 2,332,594.53) first-place prize money.

“I am really happy and training hard and looking forward to competing in this big race in Toronto,” says Kiprotich, who also won the marathon title at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, joining Ethiopia’s Gezehegne Abera as the only men to ever win both major competitions.

“I was speaking with Rono and I asked him what is the course like,” he says of the man who set a Canadian all-comers’ record of 2:06:52 in Toronto a year ago.

“He said the course is good and nice. I was telling him if we go fast and run the first half in 63 minutes, we can push at the end to 2:05. He told me it is possible.”

Kiprotich’s major championship success is outstanding and all the more remarkable since he chose to make Iten his training base.

There he lives in the camp built by Dutch based management company Global Sport Communications with a group that includes not only Rono but also the world’s number one marathoner Eliud Kipchoge.

Improved substantially

They are coached by 1992 Olympic men 3000m steeplechase silver medallist Patrick Sang.

Although the facilities in Uganda have improved substantially since his Olympic victory, he still prefers the familiarity of the Iten camp.

“I train here because my friends are here and I have good company,” he says.

“My home is about six hours drive by car. I go home on the weekends and sometimes when my family needs me. But sometimes when I am preparing for a big race, I stay in the camp for one month without going home.”

Despite his tremendous success and uncanny ability to peak at the right time, Kiprotich knows his personal best of 2:06:33 deserves to be substantially reduced.

“I have the two medals but also I want to run a faster time than 2:05,” he says. “Most of the people they look at my times and they ask me how did you win these two medals in poor times? So it is my hope to run a good time before I retire.”

Kiprotich and Rono can expect some stiff competition from New Zealand’s Jake Robertson who debuted with a national record of 2:08:26 earlier this year.

All three are looking for a time faster than the course record. If race organisers can summon up cooperative weather, we may well see magic achieved at the Toronto Marathon.

-Report by www.iaaf.org