Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya, who first won the New York Marathon in 2011, will be making his third shot at the crown, after winning in 2013 against a spirited challenge that will include several Kenyans.

The Kenyan athletes were on Tuesday in top form and optimistic about doing well in New York as they jetted out.”I have done my training well and as I go, I can confirm that it will be the legs doing the talking. I do not know how the others have prepared, but I will focus on my own race and beating the others,” Mutai said in Nairobi on Tuesday.

“Everyone is prepared and it will be competitive. I look at myself. For now we pray for the best win,” he said. “I have some reservations about competing for the Kenya team at the World Championships in Beijing next year,” said Mutai.

Dennis Kimetto, who won the Berlin marathon two weeks ago, also made the trip, but will not be running as he awaits his fate based on who will win the World Marathon Majors (WMM) crown. Kimetto, who has 75 points, is in line to clinch the 500,000 US dollars and laurel for his effort this season if Kipsang (51 points) fails to win in New York.

A win in New York for Kipsang will see him get the edge to see his tally hit the 76-point margin. Kimetto broke Kipsang’s world marathon record of 2:03.23 when he won in Berlin a new course and world record of 2:02.57 to become the first man to run under two hours and three minutes.

Kipsang, 32, has been reserved this year since his participation in the London Marathon back in April. “Time will not be essential in New York. I just want to see how fast I can go against a spirited challenge from my competitors. It is my first time running in New York so I have no specific targets at the moment, apart from what everyone expects in a competition, to win,” said Kipsang.

The 2012 London Olympic Marathon bronze medalist has run under 2:05 five times, the most in history.He won his second London Marathon in 2014 in a course record of 2:04:29 after narrowly missing the record in the 2012 event.He is the two-time champion and the course record-holder at the Frankfurt Marathon, at which he coincidentally fell four seconds short of the standing world record in 2011.

At the 2009 RAK Half-Marathon, he became the fifth person in history to finish within 59 minutes with a time of 58:59.The Kenyan squad will meet challenges from reigning Olympic and world champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda and London Marathon runner-up Stanley Biwott of Kenya at the New York Marathon. -Xinhua

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