Track is my field: Mark Cullen's international track and field website featuring storytelling, commentary, and predictions and event analyses for the Olympics and World Championships. I'll be writing from the 2018 European Championships in Berlin in August. I'm active on Facebook and Twitter: @trackerati.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tied by History

Kimetto and Kipsang


Left: Marathon World Record Holder, Dennis Kimetto, Kenya
Right: Former Marathon World Record Holder, Wilson Kipsang, Kenya


Dennis Kimetto and Wilson Kipsang are two men tied by history. 

Kenyans both, one broke the world record of the other when Kimetto became the first man under 2:03 with his wondrous 2:02:57 at Berlin last October. He shattered Kipsang's mark of 2:03:23, run on the same Berlin course the year before. 

Rivals on the course, the warmth of the friendship of the consecutive world record holders was evident throughout a media briefing in Beijing Thursday afternoon.

Surprisingly, there is only one World or Olympic medal between them, Kipsang's Olympic bronze from London in 2012. Kipsang rues a missed water bottle pickup in the Olympic race. While many think he went out too fast that day, Kipsang thinks the numbers tell the tale. 

"My biggest mistake was to miss my water at 5k," he said. He hesitated, and that hesitation cost him dearly. "I went, came back, and started again. Those seconds were the crucial difference."

As for strategy this Saturday, Kipsang said, "I must run in a way I can win. I must keep a close watch."

"You have to exercise some patience and save your energy," he said. "If you run too fast you'll lose your energy and water."

Kipsang and Kimetto see their major rivals as coming from Ethiopia and Ugandan World and Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich. A Kenyan medal sweep is not out of the question, they agree.

In fact, asserted Kipsang, "It's our plan."

Kipsang and Kimetto paid tribute to the late Sammy Wanjiru, whose 2008 win here in Beijing under trying conditions is widely regarded as the single greatest performance in marathon history.

Both found his race inspirational, and from Wanjiru they learned the value of tactics over time. While Kipsang sees time - a world record - as important as a medal, his closing statement on Thursday should strike fear in the hearts of his competitors.

"I still have the potential to do even more."


Left: Marathon World Record Holder, Dennis Kimetto, Kenya
Right: Former Marathon World Record Holder, Wilson Kipsang, Kenya
Center: Not a world record holder









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