By Paul Gains
Geoffrey Mutai has a torrid love affair with the Ottawa 10K. The Kenyan superstar returns to the Canadian capital for the fourth time in six years to compete at the May 27 IAAF Gold Label race in Ottawa.
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Mutai, a past winner of the Boston, Berlin and New York marathons, is one of the biggest names in running and one of the fastest marathoners in history. He has had his share of highs and lows and hopes that Ottawa will see him regain the form to which race fans across the globe have become accustomed.
“I ran there before and I like the race,” he says of his decision to return. “I want to build up again
and a 10K is what I had in mind.” Out of despair sometimes comes good fortune. After Boston in 2011, where he ran a then-world best time of 2:03:02, and a victory in New York later that year, Mutai was not chosen for Kenya’s 2012 Olympic team. He then added the Ottawa 10K to that year’s race calendar.
— Ottawa Marathon (@OttawaMarathon) April 11, 2017
At the 2012 Ottawa 10K, Mutai bested the world-class field by 45 seconds running a scorching 27:42. Had it not been for the warm conditions that night, Deriba Merga’s 2009 course record of 27:24 might well have fallen. Mutai returned to Ottawa in 2013 and 2014 finishing third on both occasions.
The 35-year-old is battling back from a series of injuries that saw him race only twice the past two
years. He is cautiously optimistic his comeback will be successful. Mutai, who hopes to run around 28:00 in the nation’s capital, trains with Dennis Kimetto, the marathon world record holder, former world record holder Wilson Kipsang and 2:03:13 marathon man Emmanuel Mutai.
Although much of his day is taken up by training and resting, he is also a family man. He and his wife, Beatrice, are parents of two young daughters: Mereka, 5, and Mishel, 8. And he has also dived into the real estate business building rental housing and other projects. Running, nevertheless, remains a huge priority.
The Ottawa 10K is doubling as the Canadian 10K Championships again in 2017 during what will be Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations. Reid Coolsaet and Lanni Marchant are the defending champions at the race weekend’s Saturday marquee event. Ottawa Race Weekend, May 27-28, also offers a kids marathon, 2K, 5K, half-marathon and marathon.
Edited from a press release.