|Geoffrey Kamworor with Paul Tanui and Bedan Karoki during the Kenyan National trials in July|
The El Nino rains that were expected to pound the country seems to have held off until Geoffrey Kamworor finalized on his preparations for the New York City Marathon. I entered their training camp today, the 23rd of October, on a cloudy morning, a few days before he leaves the country and noticed their muddy shoes which they had used in their morning run having been left outside to dry. One of his fellow athletes told me that the rains only began the previous day and that it has never affected their training in any way.
As he prepares to head out to New York City being the reigning world cross country champion, world half marathon champion and a world silver medalist in the 10,000m track event after the recently concluded world championships in China, I had to ask him:
What is your favorite distance, Geoffrey?
"When I am running in any of the distances, I enjoy each one of them. I cannot say I like one event more than the other, I only focus on one depending on what is coming up in a particular season," Kamworor said.
He said that his preparations for the New York marathon have been going on very well and he believes that he has better chances of winning a major marathon for the first this time round.
One of the reasons why he has such confidence is that the New York course is much more like the courses he has been using to train daily here in Kaptagat. "With the number of long runs that I have done with my group here, I don't see any reason why I should be afraid of the New York race," he said.
Another thing that gives him morale ahead of the race is that he has all along been training together with Eliud Kipchoge, the London and Berlin marathon winner. "When Eliud won the Berlin marathon, it gave me greater hopes of doing well in New York. Everything that Eliud did in his training is the same things that we did together. Eliud has also been a great mentor to me and to other athletes in the camp, always giving us valuable advice on how to run successfully in a race," added Kamworor.
However, it will be Kamworor's first time to run in a marathon that has no pace setters. To him though, this is not such a big deal given that in most of the long runs they have been doing they have not been employing pace setters. "The only difference here will be that the pace may start out a bit faster in New York," said Kamworor. In any case, he has no particular strategy set for the race. Or, perhaps he has. Maybe, not having a strategy is a strategy in itself!
"I will be ready for anything that happens during the race, always ensuring that I remain with the leading pack up to the last stages, then see what happens from there," Kamworor said.
After New York, his plans for next year is to hopefully defend his world half marathon championship title and to, later on in the year, beat Mo Farah in the 10,000m event during the Rio Olympics and become an Olympic champion.
"With the teamwork I, Bedan Karoki and Paul Tanui did during the world championships in trying to beat Mo Farah, I saw that it is actually possible to beat Mo Farah with a combination of what we did and strong finishing powers which we lacked," he said, adding that next year he will focus more on the finishing speed ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio.