The Elite Athlete interaction at the TCS World 10K Media Centre in Bangalore on Thursday evening brought together the event’s top participants – expert roadrunners Geoffrey Kamworor and Lucy Kabuu, and Linet Masai who is a leading track & field athlete – highlighting the TCS World 10K’s character as a prized track & field and road-running event where the world’s top runners compete.
Kenya’s Geoffrey is a 2014 World Half Marathon Champion and former world junior cross champion. In top form for the run in Bangalore, he believes he has what it takes to win the USD 21000 prize-money at the TCS World 10K run on Sunday, May 18. “I have trained hard for Bangalore and my sessions have gone well. I am hoping for the best here”, he said. The young star is in India for the fourth time after winning the event in 2012 and as runner-up in the 2011 and 2013 Delhi Half Marathon.
Runner of the fastest half marathon of 2013 trained hard for the popular Tokyo Marathon but was unable to finish on a winning note because of cold weather conditions. Back home, he rested before the World Half Marathon Championships, underwent simple training, and won the event. It has been six weeks since that win, and understandably, the top ranked runner on the IAAF top lists is sure he will do well. “On Sunday, if the weather is good, I believe it is very much possible to lower the event’s course record” said Geoffrey assertively.
Geoffrey is among the most experienced runners in the men’s ‘Elite’ field at this year’s run but will face stiff competition from follow Kenyan Alex Oloitiptip, who is the defending champion and was runner up in 2012. Other top athletes include the incredibly fast track athlete Vincent Chepkok, who has finished below the 30-minute mark eleven times in the past. In 2013, he ran the 8th fastest time of the year on the 10,000 metre. Others such as Ethopia’s Kinde Atanaw, the fastest man in the run with a best of 27:36, Morocco’s Najim El Qady, and Kenyans Jacob Kendagor and Peter Matelong will ensure edge of the seat action.
In the challenging women’s field, Kenya’s Lucy Kabuu is back in India once again. Fresh from her success at the Tokyo Marathon where she finished third in 2:24:16, Lucy is among the world’s leading female distance runners. She won the Delhi Half Marathon in 2011 and returned to Delhi in 2013 to take third place. “Thanks for inviting me, she said modestly”, going on to speak about her preparation for this year. “In 2013, I did not get enough time to prepare myself. This time, I am well prepared and will do my best. I believe everything is possible if God wishes.” 2013 was a year of great success for Lucy as she won the RAK Half Marathon, finished third at the Delhi Half Marathon, and fourth at the TCS World 10K. She is aiming for a top three position in Bangalore this year.
The third Kenyan at the interaction was Linet Masai, who is in India for the first time and proud that she belongs to a family of professional runners who are part of the ‘Masai Running Family’. Linet won a stunning seven medals at various World Championships but her Gold at the 2009 Berlin World Champs 10,000 metre is the highlight of her career so far. Holding a World Junior 10,000 metre Record (30.26.50) and a World Best 10 Miles (50.39) proves Linet is currently among the best female long distance runners. For 2014, Linet is aiming Commonwealth Gold at the 10.000m in Glasgow.
Lucy and Linet can expect to be given a run for their money by Ethopian runner Guteni Shone, back in Bangalore after impressing the running fraternity at last year’s TCS World 10K by finishing second behind Gladys Cherono.
The winners in the men’s and women’s World 10K categories stand to win USD 21000 each. An added incentive of USD 7500 is up for grabs for the new course record, which the runners will aim at breaking. Currently, the men’s stands at 27.51 minutes, set by Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese in 2008, while the women’s mark stands at 31.58, set by Ethiopian Yimer Wude in 2010.
The runners are back in India thanks to a world-class event but also because of supportive and welcoming crowds that really cheer for runners visiting India.