English Quotes from Friday's (23.10) Press Conference:
The 2008 men's winner Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot was in confident mood two days before defending his title: "When I look at the start list I can see there are a lot of winners in the race and the quality is very high but I'm confident I can retain my title."
"In comparison with last year, my preparation has been just as good if not better."
"63 minutes for the halfway split is fine with me, that won't be a problem."
His coach, William Kiplagat, will also be running on Sunday and has the fastest time of any starter -- 2:06:50 -- although that was set ten years ago. Now 37, Kiplagat is confident Cheruiyot can not only win but also beat his coach's personal best: "If he runs his own race, he can certainly beat my time but it depends on the opposition. A 63 minutes pace for half way will be easy for Robert, but not for me!"
Cheruiyot has been training with Vincent Kipruto, also coached by William Kiplagat. Kipruto won the Paris Marathon in April with a personal best of 2:05:47. The coach thinks Cheruiyot can match that time!
"They have been training together and are in the same kind of form. Some weeks they've run 250 km, other weeks less. Robert is just as good as Vincent and his preparation for Frankfurt has been just as good as last year."
Jason Mbote is also sounding confident. Both he and training partner Gilbert Kirwa will be racing on Sunday. Kirwa won the Vienna title in April on his marathon debut. Their combination has worked well during their build-up in Kenya.
Mbote says: "If one of us is ahead of the other, that acts as encouragement. We have both trained well and have been finishing the long runs together."
"I think my ultimate potential is to run 2:05. I know I won't run 2:04. I'm 32 now, so I also act as a coach for the younger runners including Gilbert. I want to see them running faster."
Gilbert Kirwa is 23 and began running seriously four years ago. His victory on his marathon debut with 2:08:21 on a warm day in Vienna came as a surprise:
"I didn't expect to win and it was only at 32 km that I thought I could. My longterm goal is to run 2:04."
Guenther Weidlinger's target is running inside the qualifying time for the European Championship marathon in Barcelona next year. He is confident of running faster than that goal of 2:16 but the Austrian record of 2:12:22 may have to wait for another day:
"I was injured for over three months during the summer and that has set my preparation back although my form right now is very good. I'm going to be running a cautious race, not planning to attack the Austrian record."
Weidlinger, after a distinguished career on the track as a steeplechaser including reaching the Olympic final, made a solid marathon debut with 2:12:39 in Vienna in April:
"I learned a lot from Vienna. I drank very little and won't be making the same mistake on Sunday. I shall also make sure I know the course better, shall also be wearing different shoes. These are the lessons I learned in Vienna."
He is confident that this marathon education will bring success ultimately: "The road is my home now, no more track races at international level for me. I am pretty confident that I can run under 2:10 and that one day I'll look at a results' list and see the name of Guenther Weidlinger with 2:08 beside it."
More information is available online at: www.frankfurt-marathon.com.
William Kiplagat, Gunther Weidlinger, Luminita Zaituc and Robert K. Cheruiyot (from left) at the press conference. Photo: photorun.net / Sailer