By James Bakama
STEPHEN Kiprotich could pocket up to $180,000 (sh460m) if he wins the Virgin London Marathon. There is a $55,000 (sh140m) winner’s prize.
As a way of boosting speed, organisers have bonuses for all runners with times under two hours 11 minutes in the men’s race and 2:28:00 in the women’s event.
Should Kiprotich under this arrangement run below 2:05:00 he will be entitled to $100,000 (sh256m).
There is also $125,000 (sh320m) waiting to be won should Uganda’s Olympic and World Championship gold medalist set a world record.
Wilson Kipsang, who holds the men’s record at 2:03:23, will be one of the stars that Kiprotich will be up against.
Kiprotich’s personal best is 2:07:20, run at the Enchede marathon in Holland in 2011. At last year’s London marathon he clocked 2:08:05 finishing sixth. Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede won in 2:06:04.
Ahimbisibwe backs Kiprotich
Gordon Ahimbisibwe, who was Kiprotich’s coach as he ran to Olympic glory in 2012, is confi dent the athlete can shine again in London.
“Asking for a world record might be too much. But winning shouldn’t come as a surprise, at least going by his Olympic and World Championship victories,” said Ahimbisibwe.
Kiprotich has been training in the Kenya highlands for the marathon for the past two months.
Apart from the time bonuses, big names like Kiprotich have appearance fees. And to help the runners with their times, the London marathon also employs pacesetters.
Besides Kipsang, Kiprotich will also be against course record holder Emmanuel Mutai, defending champion Tsegaye Kebede, New York Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai and Dubai Marathon champion Ayele Abshero in one of the most high profile entries.
Paris marathon winner Stanley Biwott, Martin Mathathi, who won the Fukuoka marathon and double Olympics champion Mo Farah, are also part of the field that is seriously eyeing the huge prizes at stake.
British Athletics performance Director Neil Black says Mo Farah is in peak physical shape.
“Psychologically he is very prepared,” Black told British media early last week.