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Athletics | Running

Emmanuel Mutai © Gallo Images

Typhoid won't deter Mutai



Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai reckons he will still be fit enough to mount a strong defence of his LonMarathon title on Sunday despite a recent bout of typhoid.

The 27-year-old, who set a London course record last year, missed some training after being struck down by the fever a month ago but is determined to do well this weekend ahead of the Olympic marathon in the British capital in a few months' time.

This year's race has been given added impetus as Kenya have yet to select their team for the Olympic marathon.

Mutai, world record-holder Patrick Makau and world champion Abel Kirui are among six athletes battling for three places.

"For me this will definitely be a tougher competition than last year because the field is so strong," Mutai said on Tuesday.

"Everyone has run a good time so I will have to perform at my best," added Mutai, who won in a time of two hours, four minutes and 40 seconds last year.

"I had a fever a few weeks ago and was under medication. But I am feeling better now and my recovery has been good. I will have to try my best."

Kenya are due to name their three-man team for the Olympic marathon at the end of this month and Mutai said: "The selection is challenging, but I think if I can finish in the top three here I will qualify.

"The extra pressure is there because of the Olympic selection, but I've been concentrating on running well in London. What comes after London, I will think about then."

Meanwhile Mutai's compatriot Mary Keitany is looking to defend her title in the women's race.

The 30-year-old won last year in a time of 2hr 19min 19sec that has been bettered in London only by Britain's Paula Radcliffe, who went quicker in 2003 and 2005.

World record-holder Radcliffe is not running in London on Sunday, with her Olympic preparations having suffered a setback last Sunday when she recorded her slowest half-marathon time in Vienna.

Keitany, however, said she felt in fine form.

"I'm in the same shape as last year and I hope to defend my title and win despite the field being so competitive," she said.

"It will be very hard because of the strong athletes. Almost every runner has a good time, and many have run around 2hr 20min, but I am determined to defend my title."

Nevertheless, Keitany accepted she would have to run a smarter race tactically than the one she produced in November when, after a rapid start, she blew a two-minute lead to finish third in the New York Marathon.

"Sometimes your body can cheat you and tell you that you are OK when you fail to understand your body is having problems," she said.

"But I don't fear the marathon. I think of myself as a marathon runner now and I also think I have to better understand tactics, to know the tactics of running and handling a race."



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