Kolkata, Dec 14 (IANS) Kenyan Amos Kipruto, who won silver at the Berlin marathon three months back, is confident of breaking Bekele’s course record in the Tata Steel Kolkata 25 km race here on Sunday.
Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele had set the course record of one hour 13 minutes 48 seconds in the unique 25 km event in 2017.
Talking to reporters on Friday, the 26-year-old said he’s perfectly in shape to better Bekele’s record here.
“After Berlin, I had some injury problems but I’m fully fit now and feel ready to break the record,” Kipruto said.
Kipruto has the best timing of 1:00:24 in the half-marathon in Sweden.
“I believe running fast in 25 km is achievable,” he said, adding that he’s targeting to break the world record of 58:18 in 21K.
“I think that next year I can break the world half marathon record (58:18 by Kenya’s Abraham Kiptum, set last month in Valencia),” he said.
At the Berlin marathon in September, Kipruto was pipped by fellow mate Eliud Kipchoge with a world record timing of 2:01:39.
Kipchoge happens to be his neighbour and Kipruto said he’s inspired by him.
“It has inspired me, he lives just 800 metres away from my house.”
Running his first race after the Berlin marathon, he said “I was not looked at because all the focus was on Kipchoge (Eliud). But I put in a strong race. I have prepared well and I know I will be on the podium on Sunday,” he added.
The Kenyan won’t have a field day as a stiff challenge from Ethiopian Birhanu Legese, a two-time Delhi Half Marathon winner who most recently ran in India in May this year, awaits.
“I like racing in India a lot as it’s often warm races and I seem to do well in them,” Legese said.
The 25 km race, which is an IAAF Bronze label road race, has attracted strong fields.
Ethiopia’s defending women’s champion Degitu Azimeraw, who surprised everyone in 2017 by taking the honours in a course record of 1:26.01 in her first international race, sounded confident that she can go even faster in this year’s race.
‘I have ambitions to win this race again and I am in very good shape,” the 19-year-old said.
“Last year’s race changed my life and I am happy to return here.”
She will be alongside Kenya’s two-time world champion Florence Kiplagat on the start line.
India’s challenge will be led by Services runner Avinash Sable who recently broke a 37-year-old world record in steeple chase.
“Steeplechase is my favourite event but events such as this help in developing endurance. This year I am prepared better than the previous year,” he said.