Che­bet, Chep­kirui seek to re­claim Honolulu ti­tles

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - SPORTS - BY ELIAS MAKORI

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The Honolulu Marathon may be the fourth-largest marathon in Amer­ica, but it’s most cer­tainly the most scenic.

And it’s quite laid-back, its fa­mous “no time limit” rule at­tract­ing the slow­est of fun run­ners who cher­ish back-mark­ing the 42 kilo­me­tres un­der no pres­sure, un­like the busi­ness-like Bos­ton, Chicago and New York marathons.

At Honolulu, the roads re­main closed al­most all day un­like in the other marathons where time lim­its of eight hours, on av­er­age, are pen­cilled for road clo­sures.

Things won’t be any dif­fer­ent to­day when the beau­ti­ful is­land of Hawaii hosts the 46th Honolulu Marathon with a field of 27,000 ex­pected, in­clud­ing 87-year-old Roger Hauge who will be on the fourth leg of his chal­lenge to com­pete in 50 marathons in the 50 US states.

At least half a dozen elites have been drafted, most of them Kenyans, in­clud­ing pre­vi­ous win­ners Wil­son Che­bet and Joyce Chep­kirui.

Che­bet -- a three-time Am­s­ter­dam Marathon cham­pion, a feat that earned him the nick­name “Mr Am­s­ter­dam” -- is one of Kenya’s most con­sis­tent marathon­ers.

He has com­peted in Honolulu four times, win­ning once in 2014 with a time of two hours, 15 min­utes and 35 sec­onds.

Re­claim ti­tle

He will be hop­ing to re­claim the ti­tle af­ter com­ing close last year, fin­ish­ing sec­ond (2:09:54) to course record-break­ing Lawrence Cherono (2:08:27).

In the women’s divi­sion to­day, Joyce Chep­kirui, 30, will be look­ing to re­claim the ti­tle she won twice, in 2014 and 2015.

Brigid Kos­gei is the de­fend­ing cham­pion, hav­ing shat­tered the course record last year set­ting the fresh bar at 2:22:15.

Che­bet hopes to re­cover from the dis­ap­point­ment of drop­ping out in Frank­furt in Oc­to­ber.

He looked re­laxed yes­ter­day dur­ing a pre-race elite ath­lete photo shoot on the fa­mous Waikiki Beach, ad­ja­cent to the US Army Mu­seum where a 77th an­niver­sary gath­er­ing com­mem­o­rat­ing Ja­pan’s in­va­sion of USA was be­ing held by the army’s Pa­cific Divi­sion for­ma­tion.

His aim is to win the race, with time se­condary given the tough course.

“If you want to run a fast time, like a per­sonal best time, then races in Europe like the Am­s­ter­dam Marathon will suit you fine,” said Che­bet who com­pleted a rare Rot­ter­dam and Am­s­ter­dam dou­ble in 2011.

“In Amer­ica, it’s very dif­fi­cult to run a good time. Honolulu is not a flat course, it’s a bit hilly.

“I’ve been strug­gling here in Honolulu, win­ning once and fin­ish­ing sec­ond the rest of the times so my aim this time is just to win the race.

“I’m told it will be windy, but I’ve trained very well and I should be ok.”

Left to right: Kenyan ath­letes Charles Cheruiyot, Wil­son Che­bet and Vin­cent Ya­tor re­lax at Waikiki Beach yes­ter­day ahead of to­day’s Honolulu Marathon.

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