Kipsang And Robertson To Battle It Out In Manchester

Great Comeback 3

Join Robertson and Kipsang on the start line in Manchester – for more information, visit here

NEW ZEALAND’S Zane Robertson is gunning for the Kiwi 10K road record as he takes on Kenyan giant Wilson Kipsang in the Great Manchester Run.

The self-styled Running Elvis has pledged to ‘push the limits of beast mode’ on the streets of Manchester on May 22, with fellow countryman Jonathan Wyatt’s 20-year-old 10K record his target.

Robertson already holds the national record at 15K, 20K and half marathon, and Wyatt’s 28.04 is the next logical step for the confident Kiwi at the IAAF Gold Label event in Manchester, having ran 10K in 28.10 during his victory in the Marugame Half Marathon in January 2015.

In Kipsang, Robertson will face a stiff test – but is a competitor he knows well having trained with him while splitting his time between Kenya and Ethiopia.

Robertson moved to Iten with his twin brother Jake when they were 17 in a bid to improve themselves among African runners, and the 26-year-old, now living in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, trains regularly alongside the elder Kipsang.

With a bronze medal in the 5,000m at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 under his belt, and a New Zealand and Oceanian record with 59.47 in Marugame, Robertson has targeted Olympic success for 2016 – and expects Manchester to be the perfect warm-up for that.

“To be invited to the Great Manchester 10K is a great opportunity for me, I've been waiting for a while for the chance to run fast and after last year's results this is the place to do it,” said Robertson, who joins 40,000 other runners on the start line in Europe’s biggest 10K event.

“With blessing from the weather the New Zealand record will not survive, 10k is not very far on the road and I'm looking forward to pushing the limits of beast mode. ‘Runninelvis’ will be in full force in Manchester.

“The competitors will be tough I'm sure but in this race my biggest battle will be with myself and the clock.”

Kipsang finished fourth last year with a time of 27.53, a matter of weeks after losing his London Marathon title to Eliud Kipchoge, and was second in Manchester in 2014 and 2013, the year he set his marathon world record at the Berlin Marathon with 2.03.23, taking 15 seconds off Patrick Makau’s previous record.

With Rio in his sights, and an improvement on the third place 2.09.37 he achieved in London 2012, Kipsang is once more in marathon action this year, named in a packed field for the London Marathon in April.

In between London and Rio falls Manchester, and the 34-year old is keen to make a good impression in Olympic year.

“I’m happy to run in Manchester again, as I always like to run there and for sure I hope to run well again with great competition,” said Kipsang. “My first main goal is London, because I want my London title back. When I run well in London I will run well in Manchester – as in the past.

“For now, I will keep my focus on my training for the coming five weeks and will also try to get as much rest I can get.”

For further information and to enter the Great Manchester Run visit www.greatrun.org/Manchester