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Kipsang: Easy Course Might Help Set a Record

Posted March. 09, 2006 03:00,   


Finally raising its curtain on March 12, 2006, the Dong-A Seoul International Marathon is heating up with the arrival of iron-legged runners from all over the world.

Twenty-nine-year-old William Kipsang is the strongest contender in the men’s race. The Kenyan finished the 2003 Amsterdam Marathon in a time of 2:06:39 and has been keeping his record in the neighborhood of two hours and seven minutes ever since. Standing 170cm tall and weighing 51kg, the slim African has a fluid running style found among many other runners from Africa. Kipsang will defend his title from last year’s race in which he recorded a time of 2:08:53. Arriving in Seoul on March 7, Kipsang renewed his resolution, saying, “The Seoul Marathon has gentle slopes and a beautiful course. If the weather helps, I even hope to set a new record. I will win the race with a better time than last year’s.”

Jimmy Muindi of Kenya: Last Year’s Rotterdam Champ-

Kipsang considers a fellow Kenyan as his toughest rival. Thirty-two-year-old Muindi won last year’s Rotterdam (2:07:50) and Honolulu (2:12:00) marathons. These two runners will face a tough competition with 2005 Frankfurt Marathon winner (2:08:29) Wilfred Kigen of Kenya, 2005 Fukuoka Marathon winner (2:08:29) Dmitri Baranovski of Ukraine, and South Korea’s Ji Young-joon, whose personal record is 2:08:43.

China’s Zhou Chunxiu: A Confident Title Defender-

In the women’s race, last year’s champion Zhou Chunxiu of China stands out from the crowd. The 26-year-old Chinese is a latecomer to the world of marathon, running her first full-course race in March 2003. Zhou recorded her personal best of 2:21:11 in last year’s Beijing Marathon where she came in second, surfacing as China’s marathon heroine. Her record ranked fifth in the world last year. Zhou hopes to defend her title in the Seoul Marathon and continue to win the marathon race at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Jae-Yun Jung jaeyuna@donga.com