NAIROBI: Former London marathon winner Emmanuel Mutai has played down excitement over Mo Farah's marathon debut challenge in the race in April, saying the Briton has little chance of beating the savvy East Africans.
Mutai, who holds the course record of 2:04.40 he set in winning the race in 2011, said double Olympic and world 5,000m and 10,000m champion Farah will have a tough time making the leap to 42.2km (26.2 miles).
"This not to say that I am underrating him, but with all respect Mo Farah has had no experience in running a full marathon," Mutai told AFP.
"He only tried the half marathon last year. Competing in a full marathon requires a lot experience, high endurance and mental preparation. You can run well in the first 35k, but the last seven kilometres can be very challenging even for an experienced runner," said Mutai, a seasoned veteran who will making his sixth consecutive appearance in London on April 13.
The 29-year-old Kenyan, who took second spot behind Ethiopian Tsegaye Kebede last year in the English capital, said he expected his three-year course record to come under threat considering the high quality of the field entered for the 2014 race.
"Everybody will be focusing on setting a new course record. But I am ready for the challenge and hope to do my own solo run from the front," said Mutai, who holds the fifth fastest official time over the distance -- his 2:03.52 second-place finish in Chicago last year.
Compatriot and world record holder Wilson Kipsang, as well as fellow Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai -- who has won twice in New York as well as in Berlin and Boston, where he ran an unofficial world best of 2:03.02 -- have also been confirmed to race.
Others in the elite male line-up include Olympic and world champion, Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda, and a strong Ethiopian contingent of Kebede, the current World Marathon Majors title holder, Ayele Abshero, Feyisa Lilesa and Farah's 10,000m track rival Ibrahim Jeilan, who will also be making his debut over the marathon distance.