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2013 London Marathon Men's Race Contenders
Geoffrey Mutai |
Patrick Makau |
Wilson Kipsang |
Tsegaye Kebede |
Photo Credit: Victah Sailer - |
Mutai Makes His London Debut
PB: 2:03:02, 2011 Boston Marathon
Every time Geoffrey Mutai toes the line, there exists the possibilty of a special performance. He's shown throughout his career that he is already one of the elite male marathoners of all-time.
Geoffrey Mutai (no relation to 2011 London Marathon winner Emmanuel Mutai) made his marathon debut at Eldoret in 2007 with a 2:12:22 finish (on a course 2000m above sea level). He followed that with wins at Monaco (2:12:40) and Eindhoven in October 2008 (2:07:50). 2009 proved a mixed year for Mutai. He added the half marathon to his arsenal, where he won at Valencia (59:30). In March, he DNFd at Seoul, finished eighth at Daegu (2:10:45) and successfully defended his title at Eindhoven (2:07:01).
With 2010 Mutai moved up to the more elite marathon starts in the world, and started to push the field in dramatic ways. In April, he finished just seven seconds behind Patrick Makau at Rotterdam (2:04:55), then finished only two seconds behind Makau again at Berlin the following fall (2:05:10). On the half marathon front, he won at both RAK (59:43) and New Dehli (59:38). Those results established Mutai as one to watch. What followed made him a star.
Despite the wind-aided and downhill course at Boston, Mutai's blistering 2:03:02 finish is a mindblowing achievement under any circumstances. With that course record in his pocket, Mutai took aim at New York City the following fall. And he did not disappoint. He smashed the New York City Marathon course record to the tune of 2:05:16 -- finishing over a minute ahead of Emmanuel Mutai and over two minutes ahead of third place Tsegaye Kebede (both in the line-up for London 2013).
In the fall of 2012, Mutai again returned to Berlin looking to move up the podium. And again, he showed his stuff with a 2:04:15 (his PB when discounting his 2011 Boston performance). Most recently, he set a half marathon PB with a third place finish at RAK in February 2013 (58:58, the fastest 3rd place finish at that distance of all-time).
Why? Geoffrey Mutai is the reigning World Marathon Majors champion and currently holds two of those course records (Boston & New York). Excluding a DNF at Seoul in 2009 and Boston 2012 (due to the extreme heat) and an eighth place finish at Daegu in 2009, Geoffrey Mutai has either finished first or second in each of his marathon finishes. If he's in the lineup, he's always in the mix to stand atop the podium.
Photo Credit: Victah Sailer - |
The World Record Holder
PB: 2:03:38, 2011 Berlin Marathon
Even without his world-record performance at the 2011 Berlin Marathon, Kenya's Patrick Makau would be one to watch at the 2013 London Marathon. That he boasts a 2:03:38 PB certainly adds to the excitement every time he toes the line.
Like many, Makau saw a great deal of success earlier at the half marathon distance. He finished second at RAK (59:13), won Berlin (58:56), second at Rotterdam (59:19) and earned a silver medal at the 2007 World Championship at Udine (59:02). In 2008, Makau exploded onto the scene with seven 1st or 2nd place finishes at the half marathon. Amongst those were wins at RAK (59:35), Reading (61:19), Den Haag (60:08), Berlin (60:00) and Rotterdam (59:29). He also ran a fantastic New York City Half Marathon, finishing second in 60:59. He concluded the year with another silver medal at the World Championships at Rio de Janeiro.
With those half marathon successes under his belt, Makau made a splash as he recorded what was then the second fastest debut marathon finish of all-time at the 2009 Rotterdam Marathon (2:06:14, 4th place). In 2010 Makau returned to Rotterdam twice -- and won twice. He won the half marathon in March (59:51) and full marathon (2:04:48). The following fall, Makau took to the streets of Berlin and became the first runner to complete two marathons in a single year in a combined time of under 4:10:00 as he won the race in 2:05:08. In that race he used a final kick to beat Geoffrey Mutai by a mere two seconds.
2011 saw Makau make his London Marathon debut. Despite a strong race, Makau finished third behind Emmanuel Mutai's new course record and fellow Kenyan runner Martin Lel. Makau's final time was 2:05:45 (identical to runner-up Lel). The following fall, Makau toed the line at the 2011 Berlin Marathon, and well, the rest is history. His 2:03:38 finish cut 21 seconds from Haile Gebreselassie's world record set in 2008.
Makau returned to London for the 2012 London Marathon, looking to contend. However, he was forced out of the race nearly halfway through. He did however, return to his winning ways as he won the 2012 Frankfurt Marathon the following fall (2:06:08).
Why? He's the current world record holder. He has won 4 of the 7 marathons he's finished. In addition, he's finished the half marathon in under 60:00 a record eight times. Amongst the elite field he's only finished behind Emmanuel Mutai (the 2011 London Marathon). And again, he's the world record holder.
Photo Credit: Victah Sailer - |
The Returning Champion
PB: 2:03:42, 2011 Frankfurt Marathon
Wilson Kipsang's running career almost never was. It was not until he finished runner-up at a local 10K while running for the Kenyan police force, that he was discovered.
Since winning his half marathon debut at Tarsus in 2008 (62:50), Kipsang has rarely looked back. He continued 2008 with a sixth place performance at Berlin (61:03), and a runner-up showing at New Dehli (59:16). 2009 saw Kipsang take on a very heavy workload with six top-4 half marathon finishes. He won at Egmond Aan Zee (65:36), finishied second at RAK & Valencia (58:59 & 59:33), two third-place finishes -- Berlin & New Dehli (59:38 & 60:04) and a fourth place finish at the World Championships at Birmingham (60:08). Despite only one win out of that lot (in the slowest time no less), those times all pointed to Kipsang's leap to the full marathon imminent. He did not disappoint.
The 2010 Paris Marathon marked Kipsang's marathon debut. Running a strong race, Kipsang finished third (2:07:13) behind winner Tadesse Tola and runner-up Alfred Kering. His second marathon start at Frankfurt the following fall proved even more exceptional. Kipsang cut more than two minutes from his debut, en route to winning the 2010 Frankfurt Marathon and setting a new course record (2:04:57), besting Tola by more than minute. The performance would not be Kipsang's last sub-2:05 marathon finish.
Kipsang followed up that fantastic 2010 with a clean sweep of 2011. He started the year going 3 for 3 in marathon & half marathon starts with wins at the Lake Biwa Marathon (2:06:13), Zwolle (60:49), and Klagenfurt (62:25). In the fall he returned to Frankfurt to defend his title. Coming just a month after Patrick Makau's world-record performance at Berlin (2:03:38), Kipsang made another assault on the history books. His 2:03:42 was just four seconds off the lead and stands as the second fastest time ever recorded.
Kispang's entry into the 2012 London Marathon lineup (a lineup featuring the 2011 winner and course record holder Emmanuel Mutai) added even more electricity to what at that time was the fastest line-up ever assembled. Once again Kipsang did not dissapoint. He used two separate surges to break from the lead pack and push for the course record set by Emmanuel Mutai in 2011. Like his dominant performance just a month after Patrick Makau's world record showing in 2011, Kispang once again finished four seconds (2:04:44) off an esteemed mark. However, his win earned him a return trip to London via the Kenya Olympic Marathon team.
While he could not replicate his amazing 2012 London Marathon run, Kipsang did earn a bronze medal (2:09:37). He finished 2012 with a win at the always challenging Honolulu Marathon (2:12:31).
Why? He's the returning champ who just missed the course record by four seconds. His personal best is just four seconds off Patrick Makau's world record. He's also coming off for what was for him a dissappointing bronze medal finish at the 2012 Olympic Marathon. In addition, he's won 5 of his 7 marathon starts (with 2 third-place finishes).
Photo Credit: Victah Sailer - |
Kebede Comes in Strong After Winning Chicago
PB: 2:04:38, 2012 Chicago Marathon
At only 27 years old, Tsegaye Kebede has already had an illustrious career. With wins at some of the world's best marathons, a top-10 all-time personal best, and -- he is always a favorite to stand on top of the podium.
Kebede made his marathon debut at the 2007 Amsterdam Marathon. He finished eighth in 2:08:16. 2008 saw him move to the next level of distance running as he won at Paris (2:06:40) and Fukuoka (2:06:10) and finish third at the 2008 Olympic Marathon (2:10:00; his third marathon start). Spread throughout 2008 were Kebede's attempts at the half marathon distance. He finished runner-up at RAK (59:35), fourth at Abu Dhabi (61:45) and won at South Shields (59:45).
Since then Kebede has finished at or near the top of the world's biggest marathons. In 2009, he was the runner-up at his London Marathon debut (2:05:20) to Sammy Wanjiru. He rounded out 2009 finishing third at Berlin (2:08:35) and defending his title at Fukuoka (2:05:18) breaking his own course record.
Kebede returned to London for the 2010 London Marathon against a deep field. He seemed to learn from his 2009 runner-up finish as he over-powered the field and finished just a second behind his then-PB (2:05:19). That fall Kebede turned his attention to another world marathon major -- Chicago. Despite a strong race, Kebede couldn't stay with Wanjiru as they battled down the final mile. Kebede finished in 2:06:43.
In 2011, Kebede returned to London to defend his title. His 2:07:48 was 2.5 minutes off his 2010 time, and was no match for Emmanuel Mutai's course record (2:04:40). Kebede finished fifth. The following fall saw him take on the challenge of New York City, where he finished third (2:07:14) behind Geoffrey Mutai's course record and Emmanuel Mutai.
Last year saw Kebede make another trip to London and make another podium appearance. His third place finish came in 2:06:52 behind Wilson Kipsange and Martin Lel. He then won his second world marathon major by setting a new course record and personal best at the 2012 Chicago Marathon (2:04:38).
Why? He's a former winner (2010) and has finished second and third (2009 & 2012) respectively. He's also coming off a personal best at Chicago. Reviewing his finishes, it's clear that Kebede enjoys the challenge of being in an elite field.
Photo Credit: Victah Sailer - |
Kiprotich Returns to London
PB: 2:07:20, 2011 Enschede Marathon
Coming off his gold medal performance at the 2012 London Olympic Marathon, Stephen Kiprotich is looking to prove himself yet again.
Kiprotich's surprise win at the 2012 Olympic Games came for various reasons: it was only his fourth marathon start, his personal best of 2:07:50 was 10th amongst the elite field, and he became only Uganda's second gold medalist.
2011 Kiprotich made his marathon debut as a pacer at at Enschede. He ended up wining that race in a new Uganda national record of 2:07:20 (still his personal best). He then finished ninth at the World Championship at Daegu (2:12:57).
In February 2012 Kiprotich traveled to Tokyo and finished third in 2:07:50, behind Michael Kipyego and Arata Fujiwara. Based on these three performances it's still little wonder that Kiprotich was not counted amongst the favorites. However, he ran an even race (63:32/64:29) and was able to push away from favorites Wilson Kipsang (2012 London Marathon winner) and Abel Kirui (2-time world champion). He crossed the finish line draped in the Ugandan flag and into the history books.
Following that performance, in somewhat of a reversal of the usual order, Kiprotich then made his half-marathon debut at Nairobi in October 2012 -- finishing fifth in 63:07. Most recently he won the half marathon at Granollers (61:15) and finished third at Paris (61:34).
Why? London has obviously been very good to Kiprotich lately. In addition, while he's still learning the marathon, he has shown poise and strength and has beaten some of the fellow elite men on the world's biggest stage.