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Kenya's Kipsang dreams of being third time lucky at Tokyo Marathon

NAIROBI, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Former World Junior Cross Country champion Geoffrey Kamworor Kipsang is hoping to be third time lucky when he joins other elite runners in Japan for the Tokyo Marathon on Feb. 23.

The 21-year-old debut as a teenager in the marathon world and was credited with a 2:06.12 time when he finished third at the Berlin Marathon in 2012 behind compatriots Geoffrey Mutai and Dennis Kimetto.

He returned to the German capital last year in his second race and still finished third in 2:06:12 behind winner Wilson Kipsang, who set a new world marathon record of 2:03.23. Now Kipsang hopes when he makes his third showing over the 42km distance, luck will be on his side to propel him to the winner' s podium in Tokyo.

"I believe I have what it takes to run well in Tokyo. I am still a novice in marathon after just two attempts, therefore I know it would be too early to say, I will beat everyone.

"I believe in doing well in training and leaving my legs to do the talking when the race starts," said Kipsang.

Other Kenyans who have been listed on the Tokyo Marathon, which has a prize pack of 80,000 U.S. dollars, include two time World marathon champion Abel Mutai, who has shaken off a tendon injury that saw him stay out of competition for a year.

Mutai's last race was the London Olympic Games, where he lost the race to Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich. There is also Sammy Kitwara, Paris Marathon champion Peter Some Muge and Michael Kipyego.

Kipsang was still a teenager when he finished third at the 2012 BMW Berlin Marathon in 2:06:12. This was an age 19 world record and equal to the sixth fastest debut ever.

Kipsang was familiar with the course as he was one of the pacemakers at the 2011 race. He trailed eventual winner and world record setter Patrick Makau Musyoki by just nine seconds at the 30km mark before not finishing.

Lucy Kabuu, the former Dubai and Chicago Marathon silver medalist, will lead the women's field.

Kabuu, who was third at the New Delhi Half Marathon in December (1:08.10) behind Florence Kiplagat (1:00.00) and Gladys Cherono (1:08.03), wants to break the jinx and win her first marathon.

"I have had several poor starts and its time I got myself some title. I hope the weather will be right and the course be fast enough to help me win the race," said Kabuu in Iten.

After five false starts in Dubai (second), London (fifth), Chicago (second) and Mexico City (fifth), Kabuu has her fingers crossed she will be able to break the duck in her sixth attempt and win the 42km event.

"It is not easy to run a marathon, leave alone winning it. I cannot say I have the experience, because I have only run four marathons. But I have the determination to get over my fears and frustrations and win the race in Tokyo.

"It is a target I have set and irrespective of the level of opposition in Japan, I believe I have the capacity and tactics to win the race this time round," she said.

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