• Josphat Ndambiri goes for course record in Duesseldorf
Returning to the marathon after injury problems Kenya’s Josphat Ndambiri hopes to reignite his career in Sunday’s METRO Marathon Duesseldorf. Speaking at a press conference today the 32 year-old former Fukuoka Marathon champion said that he intends to attack the course record of 2:07:48 and hopes to improve his personal best of 2:07:36. While Ndambiri is the favourite Japan’s Eri Okubo leads the women’s elite field with a personal best of 2:26:08. Adding other running events staged on Sunday organisers registered around 16,000 athletes for the 15th edition of the METRO Marathon Duesseldorf. Close to 4,000 of them will compete in the marathon.
While the race organisers said that they hope to see a sub 2:10 winning time on Sunday they may now have to readjust their pacemakers, because Josphat Ndambiri plans for a much faster race. The 32 year-old received an unexpected boost last Sunday when he watched the London Marathon on TV back home in Kenya. Daniel Wanjiru caused a surprise by winning in 2:05:48. „Daniel is my training partner. Since January we have done all the preparation for the two April marathon races together. And we were always on the same level,“ said Josphat Ndambiri, who suffered of a foot injury for more than two years. At the end of 2011 the Kenyan ran a perfect marathon debut when he won the Fukuoka race in what remains his personal of 2:07:36.
„On Sunday I want to win. But a time of 2:09 would be disappointing for me. My aim is to break the course record and if possible run a personal best as well,“ said Josphat Ndambiri. Ethiopia’s Dereje Debele established the course record of 2:07:48 in 2013.
Fellow-Kenyan Charles Cheruiyot will probably be Ndambiri’s strongest rival. He ran his personal record of 2:09:05 in Warsaw in 2014. A year ago he achieved a fine second place in Vienna, where he clocked 2:10:09 despite strong winds. Originally from Africa Norway’s Weldu Negash Gebretsadik and Poland’s Yared Shegumo could do well on Sunday. They have personal bests of 2:09:14 and 2:10:34 respectively. Shegumo was runner-up in the marathon at the European Championships in 2014.
National interest focuses on Julian Flügel, who will run his first marathon after competing at the Olympic Games last year. He finished 71st in Rio. While he originally targeted his personal best of 2:13:57 in Duesseldorf he had to adjust his time goal. „Unfortunately I lost three weeks of training in March due to a knee problem. Now I expect to run a time between 2:17 and 2:18 on Sunday,“ said Julian Flügel.
In contrast to the men, the course record of 2:25:49 will be out of reach for the women. While Eri Okubo has a personal best of 2:26:08 she predicts a much slower performance of above 2:30 for Sunday. „I think I will run around 2:35,“ said the 34 year-old from Tokyo. While Eri Okubo could become the first Japanese winner of the METRO Marathon Duesseldorf Carmen Martinez Aguila of Paraguay and Portugal’s Doroteia Alves Peixoto hope to challenge her. Both have identical personal bests of 2:36:01.
SELECTED ELITE RUNNERS WITH PERSONAL BESTS
Josphat Ndambiri KEN 2:07:36
Charles Cheruiyot KEN 2:09:05
Weldu Gebretsadik NOR 2:09:14
Yared Shegumo POL 2:10:34
Robert Chemonges UGA 2:11:04
Mitku Seboka ETH 2:11:44
Julian Flügel GER 2:13:57
Marcin Blazinski GER 2:14:45
Abraham Adhanom ERI Debut
Daniel Da Silva BRA Debut
Eri Okubo JPN 2:26:08
Carmen Martinez Aguilar PAR 2:36:01
Doroteia Alves Peixoto POR 2:36:01
More information is available at: www.metro-marathon.de