Kenyan marathoner Mutiso keen to continue ‘love affair’ with Valencia with another podium finish, personal best at Sunday’s marathon

NAIROBI, Kenya, December 2 – Prague Marathon champion Alexander Mutiso says he is looking forward to making more beautiful memories when he takes to the start line at Sunday’s Valencia Marathon.

Mutiso recalled his love affair with the Spanish city – as far as athletics is concerned – and expressed hope to continue the same.

“I want to thank the organisers of this race for giving me the opportunity to run in this competition once again. This is the place where I set my personal best in the half marathon as well as the full marathon. I am looking forward to setting another PB when I run tomorrow,” the 2013 World Under 18 bronze medalist for the men’s 3000m said.

His love affair with Valencia began in 2020 when he clocked a PB of 57:59 to finish fourth in the half marathon.

At last year’s Valencia Marathon, he timed another PB of 2:03:29 to finish third.

The 27-year-old will be returning to this race full of confidence after he set a course record of 2:05:09 at the Prague Marathon in May this year.

His other podium finishes in 2023 include a win at the Kagawa International Half Marathon, second-place at the Birell 10km race in Prague, victory in the 10,000m at the 2nd Athletics Kenya Track and Field Weekend Meeting in February as well as another triumph in the men’s 5000m at the Hokuren Distance Challenge in July.

That being said, Mutiso has a huge fight on his hands – or rather legs – considering the calibre of elite athletes he will be up against.

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The headlines heading into the weekend have focused on the marathon debut of Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei who has amassed unrivalled success in track and field.

The world record holder for the men’s 5,000m and 10,000m has equally enjoyed good tidings in Valencia before, having timed a world record of 26:11.00 in the latter race at the NN Valencia World Record Day in 2020.

The Olympics champion for the 5000m said this good rapport partly informed his decision to make his first forays in the 42km in the Spanish city.

“During the pandemic, when I wanted to attempt the world record for the 10,000m, I came here and I did it. So, this time, we discussed with my team on where to make my marathon debut and we said what better place to do so than in my best friend, Valencia,” the three-time world champion for the men’s 10,000m, said.

Another Kenyan who will be in action on Sunday is former world record holder for the men’s half marathon, Kibiwott Kandie.

It was at the Valencia Half Marathon in 2020 where he clocked a new world record of 57:32 — a record since broken by Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo after he timed 57:31 at the Lisbon Half Marathon in 2021.

Kandie will be buoyed by his win at this year’s Valencia Half Marathon in October where he clocked 57:40 to emerge victorious.

In the women’s race, Kenya will be represented by Jackline Chelal and Celestine Chepchirchir.

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