Mosop is healthy, Tadese is ready for another crack at 26.2, Kimetto and Abshero are confident and Kogo hopes he’s ready for unchartered territory.
October 10, 2013
Chicago, IL – LetsRun.com is on the ground in Chicago, bringing you insight from Thursday’s international press conference, which had many of the top African runners (there are some more press conferences tomorrow as well).
For the most part, everyone we talked to said they’re fit and healthy so there will be no alibis come race day and we should see the best they have to offer. Without further ado, we give you our “5 Takeaways From The 2013 Chicago Marathon International Press Conference.”
1) Moses Mosop is healthy, in good shape and says “now it’s time to test it in the race.”
Mosop is a big name on paper, but also a big question mark going into the 2013 Chicago Marathon, as he hasn’t raced in 18 months since he didn’t race when NYC 2012 was cancelled, and he was hurt in the spring. We asked him what has been up to and he told us that he had a calf injury that kept him out of racing in the spring, but that he has been back in training for the last 6 months so he’s had plenty of time to prep. He even thinks he’s in better shape than when he won Chicago in 2011 (although at that point he was coming off an injury as well, so Renato Canova put him at only 80-85% of his potential).
Even Dennis Kimetto‘s agent Gerard Van de Veen said when he was visiting Kenya recently that he heard Mosop was running great workouts. Van de Veen also told us you know Mosop is fit because he doesn’t toe the line when he’s not; he would just pull out. Mosop said it’s important to him to come back and finish in a good position place-wise since this is his first race in a long time. He hasn’t done any tune-up races, but says he’s “tested himself in training and now it’s time to test it in the race.”
2) Head-to-head against 2:03:02 man Geoffrey Mutai, Dennis Kimetto thinks he would win.
Most of our conversation with Kimetto was done through his agent Gerard Van de Veen as the soft-spoken Kimetto didn’t speak a lot of English, but when asked who would win right now between himself and training partner Geoffrey Mutai, Kimetto gave a definitive,”I will.”
And we know Mutai is in good shape as he’s won back-to-back half marathons in August and September in 59:57 and 59:06 in Rio de Janeiro and Udine. Kimetto does all the same training as Mutai and Gerard Van de Veen emphasized that Kimetto is just as strong and “does not fear any other athletes” going into these races. He’s a “big fighter” and thinks he has a shot at the course record and his own personal record.
Kimetto’s 2:04:16 PR comes from the 2012 Berlin Marathon, where he finished only steps behind Mutai. Many at the time suspected that Kimetto might have given Mutai the win as they are training partners and a victory for Mutai there sealed his $500,000 overall win in the World Marathon Majors series. We asked Gerard Van de Veen (who is also Mutai’s agent) about this and he said that there was no colluding during the race. He claimed the only time Kimetto and Mutai communicated during the race was at 32K when Mutai said he was going to start pushing. Van de Veen said they were both extremely tired at the end of the race and didn’t have enough left for a big kick.
However, Van de Veen did say that possibly it could have been a thing where Kimetto didn’t want to beat Mutai out of respect since Mutai “discovered” Kimetto and brought him into his camp, so it was a “respect for an elder” type of thing.
3) Zersenay Tadese says he’s better prepared than his previous three marathons at the 2009, 2010 and 2012 London Marathons (where he was a DNF, a 2:12:03 and 2:10:41).
Tadese didn’t seem 100% sure why his half marathon success (where he is the World Record holder and World champion) hasn’t translated over to the marathon, but he hasn’t given up on the distance. He admitted the marathon is hard, but he still thinks he can run well. Asked if he thought he could win, he answered he’s focused on running the best time possible for him and we’ll see about the place.
4) Despite two big wins this summer and his runner-up showing in Boston, Micah Kogo is nervous as to how he’ll respond to a 2:04 type pace.
Kogo is a guy who is still new to the marathon as he ran a solid debut at the 2013 Boston Marathon where he was 2nd, but had a relatively slow time of 2:10:27. The 26:35 10K runner still has a lot of speed, which he’s showcased in some shorter races recently, winning the Beach to Beacon 10K and Falmouth (7 miles) over Emmanuel Mutai, but says part of his motivation to move to the marathon was not being able to make the Kenyan Olympic team at 10K in 2012 (he was a bronze medalist in 2008).
He said his training has been going well, but is not sure how he will react to a fast 2:04 type pace and was even a bit “worried” about it. He emphasized his desire to go under 2:10 (which you would assume would be a given for a guy with his credentials) and said something in the 2:04 to 2:06 range would be very satisfying. For Kogo, the focus is on running a personal best and after that he would have to see how his body felt and then decide if he would go with a fast pace or not. Kogo trains with Mike Kigen and says they are at the same level in workouts, but pointed out there is a difference between competing and training, which makes sense since his agent, Ricky Simms, told us, “Micah is one of those guys who doesn’t push in training but usually runs well in races.”
5) Ayele Abshero is fit and thinks he might break his 2:04:23 PR, although the focus for him is definitely competing for place.
Abshero revealed that he is in good shape and running better now than his 3rd place 2:06:57 fade in London (where he was still on 2:03:30 pace at 30K). The word is that the pacemakers will be going through the half in 62 minutes and that was fine with Abshero. He hasn’t done a tune-up race because he had a slight hamstring issue 4 months ago and couldn’t do any speedwork for a 15k or half, so he just focused on training for Chicago. However he says he is 100% healthy now and ready to go.