By James Magayi @Magayijim

The new world marathon record holder Denis Kimetto and Berlin marathon runners-up Emmanuel Mutai touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport yesterday morning to a red carpet reception from jubilant friends, family and Athletics Kenya officials who also had stretch limos waiting for the athletes.

Kimetto, the first man to complete a full marathon in under two hours and three minutes (2:02:57) attributed his feat to a stringent training regime, the flat Berlin course and conducive weather conditions on race day.

The soft-spoken Kimetto recounted his world conquering feats while cuddling his son Alpha Kibet as his wife Caroline Chepkorir watched. “I have ran in Berlin before so I knew the course but breaking the record was not in my plan or mind. I just went to try and win and hopefully post a good time,” said Kimetto.

“I went about my business as usual but when I looked up at the lead car and saw that I was one minute into the world record, I started to believe I could do it. There were 12 kilometres still pending and the desire burning inside pushed me harder.

Had the course not got a little tougher in the final stages, the record would have dipped by almost one minute,” Kimetto added. His training partner Mutai also broke the then existing Wilson Kipsang’s record of 2:03:23 but could not muster sufficient strength to outpace Kimetto. He, however, believes the current record will fall in less than two years and he can also do it.

“The Berlin course is very flat and the weather is good there. If I train as well as I did, then I could be the one lowering Kimetto’s time,” said Mutai, a perennial second finisher in major races. The two friends will not take part in any other races this year as they plot more assaults next year.

“My plan is to rest and recover as I plot for the London Marathon. I know taking part in many of these races can render me mediocre so I have to be very careful what I do next,” said Kimetto. Athletics Kenya congratulated the duo, urging them to inspire many upcoming runners from upcountry and support them with training skills.

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