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Kipsang seeks to make amends in New York

New York, Friday @peoplesport11

Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang and Geoffrey Kamworor will have to beat a strong field that includes two former Boston champions in Lelisa Desisa and Lemi Berhanu as well as Ethiopian Ghirmay Ghebreslassie if they are to win the New York Marathon this Sunday. However, the biggest storyline for Sunday’s event is Meb Keflezighi‘s farewell race.

And while that’s as good a reason to tune in, there should also be a terrific race for the win in New York. Lining up at the start on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will be three New York Marathon winners Keflezighi, Kipsang and Ghebreslassie and the two Boston champions alongside one of the world’s most exciting distance runners in Kamworor, the two-time defending World Half and World Cross-Country champion.

There is an easy way to identify potential winners of the $1 million (Sh100 million) World Marathon Majors jackpot as since the start of 2013, every single WMM men’s race has been won by someone with a PR (Personal Record) under 2:08 or someone with a global medal. Based on that criteria, there are seven men who fit the bill in New York, the top six on the list above and Keflezighi who if he wins on Sunday at age 42, it would be the most unlikely achievement of his career by far.

Kipsang, 35, is one of the most intriguing names on the New York start list. This fall was supposed to be about breaking the world record and through 30 kilometres in Berlin, he was on pace to do just that.

Then this happened: Just seconds after taking his drink at the 30km aid station, with the leaders just a few strides ahead of him, Kipsang stepped off the course. The timing of the move was odd, to say the least.

Normally, only pace-setters drop out when they’re running with the leaders that late into a race. His manager Arien Verkade said Kipsang dropped out because “he felt very cold and could not run properly anymore.

Probably because of rain. Problems started at 25km.” Kipsang could have gutted it out for third and taken home 15,000 Euro (Sh1.7 million) in prize money in Berlin.

Or he could drop out and go to New York, where he gets a shot at juicier prize money (Sh10 million for first or Sh2.5 million for fourth, while collecting another appearance fee in the process. He has a chance to do just that on Sunday. -AGENCIES

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