It is late at night and still hot in the departure area of Nairobi airport. My flight to Paris has just been canceled and now I’m sitting here and waiting for the plane that should take me to Amsterdam instead.
“No oxygen in here!” a laughing voice is talking to me all of a sudden. Two slim guys are grabbing the seats beside me. I look up and what I see is a pretty familiar face. A guy that shocked the marathon scene at the start of last season – Vincent Kipruto (right on pic), 22 years old from Kenya’s distance running hub Eldoret. He surprised all experts by winning the Paris Marathon in 2009 with a 2:05:47 and backed it up with a 2:06:08 at last fall’s Chicago Marathon.
Together with his friend and training partner Evans Kiplagat (2:10:46 debut marathon in Amsterdam last year) he is on his way to the Netherlands. In five days the 40th edition of the Rotterdam Marathon will take place. The flat course has a guarantee for fast times. Like every year, the field is loaded with east African talent and since Paris and Chicago, Vincent is definitely not the dark horse in the pro line up.
mzungo.org: how are you feeling? Did the preparation go well for you?
Kipruto: I’m feeling good. Training back home went well. I’m really looking forward to the race.
mzungo.org: is it your first time in the Netherlands?
Kipruto: No. I raced a small 10k race before (the Singelloop).
mzungo.org: after last years Rotterdam race everyone now expects a new Kenyan or even the world record.
Kipruto: (smiles) that’s true. The course is fast. Competition will be good. Let’s hope the weather is perfect.
mzungo.org: who do you think are the main contenders for the win this year?
Kipruto: (James) Kwambai and (Patrick) Makau. Those are the guys to watch out for.
mzungo.org: what is your goal for the race?
Kipruto: I want a new PR. I think I can run under 2:05 in Rotterdam. Just hope there is no wind.
mzungo.org: where are you staying the last couple of days before the race? Are you based in Rotterdam?
Kipruto: Yes. We will relax in a hotel in the city centre.
mzungo.org: you ran the old version of the Nike Streak XC in Chicago and Paris. Will you stick to them? Or are you going to wear Lunaracers?
Kipruto: No. I won’t wear the Lunars. I´ll run in the Streak again. I like them. No reason to change for me.
mzungo.org: is there anything special in your training so short before a marathon? Any sprints, short intervals…
Kipruto: No. I take it easy. No speedwork at all. Just slow running. Not more than 40 minutes. Then just eat and sleep. Nothing special.
mzungo.org: I think Feyenoord is playing at home on Saturday night. Will you go and watch the match?
Kipruto: (laughs) Yes. on TV.
Best of luck to Evans and Vincent!