Kamworor puts title on line in New York marathon, eyes to make history

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-01 21:36:08|Editor: Li Xia
Video PlayerClose

NAIROBI, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Reigning New York Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor says his opponents will need to have better strategy and greater strength to deny him a second title on Sunday.

The 26-year-old says he has enjoyed an injury-free build-up to this year's New York Marathon and is in his best form ever, as he looks to improve on his personal best time of 2:06:12, set in Berlin two years ago.

"My preparations have been good since I have not had any challenges. My main aim is to go to New York and do what I did last year which is to win, but I am aware that it all depends on hard work and focus in the race," said Kamworor on Thursday in Nairobi.

Kamworor faces strong opposition from teammate and former London Marathon winner Daniel Wanjiru (2:05:21), Festus Talam (2:06:13), and the Ethiopian trio of Tamirat Tola (2:04:06), Lelisa Desisa (2:04:45) and Tola Shura (2:04:49).

Kamworor returns to the United States hopeful of becoming the first man to win the New York Marathon in successive years since John Kagwe in 1998.

His focus will be on his strength, speed and mental aptitude, which marks him out as the man to beat in New York.

"I would like to win as many world and Olympic titles as possible and also to win as many marathons," he added. "Running is my passion, my office. It is my daily activity that I cannot live without."

Kamworor attributes his strong power and good training to discipline and running sparingly.

This year, he has immersed himself in training and has only had two competitions: in Valencia in March where he won his third World Half Marathon, and in Bangalore, India for the World 10km race, in which he was crowned champion with a time of 28:18.

Now he is focused on adding a second New York Marathon title, especially after seeing his mentor and training mate Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge obliterate the world marathon record in Berlin in September, when he won in 2:01:39.

"It was a nice race and although he is my training mate, it only inspires me to do even better. It has not put me under siege or pressure to equal the mark, but slowly I want to get up there," he added.

Kamworor, who does not turn 26 until November 28, has already notched a hat-trick of World Half Marathon crowns, three World Cross Country titles, and is also the reigning New York Marathon champion.

The Kenyan road racing icon has total faith in his gifts, yet Kamworor did not always possess the swaggering belief he does today and had to be coaxed into the sport by a schoolteacher.

"At high school I won every distance from 800m to 10,000m, but I was scared to proceed to the next level. I did not believe in myself. It was only after a teacher encouraged me that I could become a professional runner and I saw Kenyans competing at a world-class level, did I have that desire to one day compete against them?" he said.

His first tour outside Kenya was in 2011 in Punta Umbria, Spain, and got off to an inauspicious start after he arrived at the airport without a valid visa stamp in his passport.

Though he endured a frustrating three-day wait as officials made efforts to get him cleared, he still went on to win the Under-20 men's competition.