KENYAN runner James Kipkelwon is ready to eclipse his Great Ocean Road Marathon course record this weekend.
Kipkelwon set a new course record last year when he clocked two hours, 27 minutes and 42 seconds in his first GORM attempt.
The defending champion arrived in Melbourne earlier this week with fellow Kenyan’s Daniel Mwelu and Charles Mutari.
Kipkelwon said was ready to run faster than he did last year.
“Last year there was rain and a lot of wind; this year, the weather is better,” he said.
“I can go under the course record by more than three minutes.”
Mwelu said Kipkelwon was the man to beat in Sunday’s marathon.
“Everyone’s coming to win but there is always one who is the strongest,” he said.
“Hopefully we can finish first, second and third again.”
Race director John Craven said he wouldn’t be surprised if Kipkelwon managed to set a new course mark.
“He looks super fit, even fitter than last year and he was certainly pretty fit last year,” he said.
More than 4300 people have entered the GORM events which include tomorrow’s six-kilometre Apollo Bay to Marengo run and the 14-kilometre Apollo Bay to Paradise run.
This year’s festival also features the 1.5-kilometre Kids Gallop with all entry-fee proceeds going to the Apollo Bay hospital.
The 45-kilometre Great Ocean Road Marathon and 23-kilometre half marathon kicks off on Sunday.
Craven said this year’s record-breaking 4340 entries showed how popular the GORM had become.
“Entry response has been fantastic, by the time you take in the Kids Gallop we should have over 4500 competitors for the weekend and that’s just amazing,” he said.
“It’s become a real family weekend, Apollo Bay is absolutely booked out, there’s no accommodation anywhere.
“The weather I hope will be in our favour and I think it will be; everything is in place for a marvellous weekend.”