Chebet, Korir eye Kenyan sweep at New York Marathon

Defending champion Albert Korir and compatriot Evans Chebet are targeting an unprecedented Kenyan sweep as they prepare to duel at the New York Marathon on Sunday.

The world-famous race through the streets of the Big Apple brings the curtain down on the six-event world major marathon season, with Korir and Chebet looking to crown a year of Kenyan dominance.

Kenyan athletes have won every major men's marathon this season -- Eliud Kipchoge taking the honors in Tokyo and Berlin, Amos Kipruto winning in London and Benson Kipruto triumphing in Chicago.

Chebet, meanwhile, won the Boston marathon in April, meaning that a victory for either the 33-year-old or Korir this weekend would complete a clean sweep of major marathons for Kenya.

It would be the first sweep of the majors since the world marathon circuit was expanded to six races in 2013 with the addition of Tokyo.

Korir, 28, arrived in New York determined to defend his title on Sunday after a training camp that has seen him run up to 124 miles (200 km) per week.

"I came here to defend my title," Korir said. "I have faith and I think I'm well prepared. I will have to fight because everybody is coming here to win."

One wrinkle, however, could be the weather, with New York forecast to be basking in unseasonably warm temperatures of 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees Celsius) on Sunday.

"I don't like warm weather," Korir said. "But we can't do anything about weather. We will have to do hydrate and drink more water."

Korir and Chebet can expect a stiff challenge from non-Kenyan competitors on Sunday, with former New York runner-up Shura Kitata of Ethiopia and Olympic silver medalist Abdi Nageeye lurking in the field.

In the women's race, meanwhile, the withdrawal of defending champion and reigning Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir left Kenya's Hellen Obiri and Ethiopia's world champion Gotytom Gebreslase as the clear front-runners.

The 32-year-old Obiri is running her first marathon after a glittering track career, which included back to back 5,000m gold medals at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships.

"I know New York is a tough course, but I hope my experience on track, road and cross country will help me with the ups and downs," said Obiri.

"It's my first marathon, I am training well and so I am looking forward to running my best."

rcw/js