Kenya's Makau seeks personal best time at Fukuoka marathon
Nairobi, Dec 2 (IANS) Former world record holder Patrick Makau of Kenya wants to make another attempt at improving his personal best time when he lines up for the Fukuoka Marathon in Japan on Sunday.
Makau, who holds a personal best time of 2:03.38, which was a world record before it was cut down to 2:03.02 and later 2:02.57, will be aiming for a hat-trick of Fukuoka Marathon titles, reports Xinhua.
The 31-year-old triumphed in the Japanese city in 2014 and 2015. Only four other men have three or more wins in Fukuoka. The last man to win three times in a row was Toshihiko Seko, who was victorious in 1978, 1979 and 1980.
"I feel my body is ready and as I embark on this assignment. There is only one thing in my mind -- to run faster. Not a world record, but fast time that will confirm my return to competition after long battle with injury," he said here on Thursday.
Makau and Kwambai departed on Thursday and hoped the weather will be favourable to enable them to accomplish their mission. Makau is one of three men in the field with a sub-2:05 personal best.
World silver medallist Yemane Tsegay of Ethiopia and James Kwambai of Kenya will be competing in Fukuoka for the first time. Tsegay has a best of 2:04:48 and finished third at this year's Boston marathon.
Kwambai's best is 2:04:27 and earlier this year he won the Daegu Marathon in 2:10:46.
The field also includes the likes of Eritrean record holder Yared Asmerom, Polish record holder Henryk Szost and prolific Japanese racer Yuki Kawauchi.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia's 2012 Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist Tariku Bekele and Kenya's 2015 Marugame Half Marathon champion Paul Kuira will be making their marathon debuts.
Makau won in Berlin twice, including his world record run in 2011 where he ran 2:03:38. Last year, he retained his Fukuoka Marathon title in 2:08:18 and became the first man to get back-to-back wins.
Now he is on the cusp of writing a new chapter in the history of the race, should he win on December 4, his third title in as many attempts.
"I do not look much at the record, because when it comes to the real running, the experience and records sometimes do not count and the health status of the body on the material day is crucial. I want to win the race though," he said.
When asked about the best race of his career, Makau said: "A pivotal moment in my career was setting the world marathon record in Berlin in 2011. That was a reward for hard work and focus. It was a blessing."
But he has another challenge to push his body to the limit and prove to his critics that he still has a future in marathon running by winning Fukuoka.
However, he said it is too early to start thinking of the World Marathon Championships in London next year.