Muscat, Jan 17 – With the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon just a day away, the runners are all geared up for the D-Day. One of the more prominent runners that will line up the field on Friday will be Finland national champion Aki Nemmala. The 32-year-old has a best timing of 2 hrs and 19 minutes which he set at the Valencia Marathon in Spain last year and he is excited about running in Oman for the first time. “It is my first time in Oman and I feel it’s a great place, pretty calm with very nice people,’’ Nemmala said.
“I ran my first marathon in 2012, so it’s been six years. I’ve been running middle and long distance races for even longer. I joined the track and field club in Finland when I was just four,’’ Nemmala revealed, with a laugh. Aki was inspired by his mother, who was also a marathon runner. And, watching her run while he was growing up was all the inspiration he needed. Talking about the timing that he was targeting for the race, Aki said he was not particularly looking at breaking the record. “I will probably try for something under 2:30, 2:20 would be difficult. It is quite warm here and I will not be too fast. So yeah around 2:30 realistically,’’ he added.
Aki needs to shave off another second and touch 2:18 if he needs to make it to the Finnish national team.
The Finnish runner aims to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and feels his work is cut out in that regard.
“I will need to make it 2:15, 2:16 to qualify for the Olympics. It depends but I feel I can crack it and make my dream come true. It has been my big dream since childhood,’’ he added.
Kenya’s Gideon Kipsang will be someone the crowds will have to watch out for on Friday.
“I am well prepared as I came second in the last marathon I took part. It was in Kisumo, Kenya,’’ he added.
Kipsang has a personal best timing of 2 hrs and 13 minutes set in 2014.
Kipsang hopes to compete in the Boston Marathon someday where he will have to shave another six seconds.
“The cut off there is 2:07, so it is very tough but I’m trying to get there and my body feels good,’’ Kipsang stated. Kipsang trains outside Nairobi in Ngong, which has been a training ground for some legendary Kenyan runners such as Paul Tergat.
The Kenyan is looking at a timing of 2:20 or under here at the Muscat Marathon and feels that would be something he can achieve.