Marius Kipserem is looking forward to defending his Abu Dhabi title this year, then switching his focus to the London Marathon and 2020 Tokyo Games

Marius Kipserem, winner of the inaugural Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon, will use second staging of the race as a launchpad for the London Marathon – and a possible qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Kipserem, 31, is the first confirmed men’s elite runner for the 42.2 kilometer race and will arrive for his title defense in the capital in top form.

The Kenyan is taking the same path as last year that gave him both the Rotterdam and Abu Dhabi marathon titles in new course record and personal best timings.

Kipserem won the 2018 Rotterdam in 2 hours, 6 minutes and 11 seconds in April and improved that record to 2:04:12 in Abu Dhabi in December.

In April this year, he retained the Rotterdam title in a new personal best time of 2:04:11 and is confident of improving it in Abu Dhabi on December 6.

“I enjoyed every moment of the race in Abu Dhabi but this time I want to use it as a launchpad for London,” Kipserem told The National during the launch of the race route at the Adnoc Headquarters in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

“The London Marathon [in April 2020] is very important for me because a good result can earn me a spot in Kenya’s four-member marathon team at the Olympics.

“I run only two marathons a year and Abu Dhabi will be the launchpad for London. The Olympics is my biggest dream and hopefully, I can achieve it.”

Kipserem has trained on well since Rotterdam and is looking forward to Abu Dhabi for another record breaking performance.

“The course here suits me well, although there is a slight change on the route from last year but that is not a big issue though,” he said.

“I love it here because of the good weather and the flat and long stretches of road. Having run here before, I feel even more confident of another record breaking performance.”

Next month, Kipserem runs as a pacemaker for compatriot and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge on his sub two-hour marathon bid at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna in a few weeks. 

The prize money for the Abu Dhabi event is over $388,000US with the winners from both the men and women’s races taking home $100,000US each.

Aref Al Awani, general secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, said: “We expect the second marathon in Abu Dhabi will be even better.

“We have changed the race route slightly to allow runners to hear the cheers of their supporters from the event village on the Adnoc South Plaza.”

Omar Suwaina Al Suwaidi, executive office director of Adnoc said: “We had more than 10,000 participants from 19 different communities from around the country and the region last year and we expect this number to grow in this year’s race.”

posted Tuesday September 24th
by Amith Passela