Ahead of Sunday's Bupa Great Manchester Run, two of the world's finest marathon runners spoke at a pre-event interview. Here is what they had to say:
Wilson Kipsang (KEN) – marathon world record holder
In reflection, how do you remember your recent London Marathon victory?
“London was very nice for me – it was fantastic for me to win and in a course record, it was a really great race. The plan was to run at world record pace as I knew I would be very strong – I prepared very well and felt very good from the start, I controlled the race the whole way.”
What is your plan for tomorrow’s big head-to-head clash with Bekele?
“I don’t really have a race plan – for me, I need to be ready for anything as he may be planning to do something so I have to be ready from the start.”
Do you have a race schedule planned for the summer yet?
“I have one half marathon next month and then I will prepare for the next marathon, which is not confirmed yet.”
You are known for your strong faith in God – do you feel this benefits your racing?
“I am a God-fearing guy, I really believe in God and I believe my faith has really contributed to my success and my way of living.”
Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) – two-time Olympic and four-time world 10,000m champion
Do you feel you have recovered well since your victory in your debut marathon in Paris last month?
“This is a short time since the marathon but this race is only 10km and I have prepared despite the short recovery, it is very tough to recover but we will see what happens on Sunday.”
It’s a real clash of the titans with yourself and Kipsang on Sunday, what are your aspirations?
“Winning is very important, I’m not focused on the time. If I can control the race, maybe a good time – that is my plan. Manchester is a great place, I’m very happy to run here.”
Has multiple Manchester 10km winner (and two-time Olympic and four-time world 10,000m champion), Haile Gebrselassie given you any advice on the course?
“I have only met Haile once since the Bupa Great North Run (in Newcastle last September) – we are both busy with training and with our businesses.”
What are your racing plans for the summer and will you go back to racing on the track?
“There is no (race) programme yet but depending on my training, I would like to go back to the track.”