NEW YORK — If Kenya went ahead with an Olympic marathon trials in February, its most consistent runner over the last few years planned to skip them.
Wilson Kipsang, the former world-record holder who will defend his New York City Marathon title on Sunday, said he would have chosen to race a spring marathon, presumably with much more money at stake, rather than an Olympic trials.
“It wouldn’t have been convenient,” Kipsang said Thursday.
Fortunately, Kenya’s track and field federation quickly scrapped its Olympic trials plan first announced two weeks ago. The world’s dominant marathon nation will choose its three-man and three-woman team by other means.
Kipsang, 33, is arguably the top choice if it’s a subjective system, with an Olympic bronze medal and Berlin, London and New York City Marathon victories in the last three years, plus holding the world record for one year. Though with Athletics Kenya, anything goes.
For the 2012 Olympics, it passed over Wesley Korir, the reigning Boston Marathon winner, Patrick Makau, who broke the world record at the 2011 Berlin Marathon, and Geoffrey Mutai, who broke the course record at the 2011 New York City Marathon.
Kipsang suggested the Olympic team should be chosen in February even without the trials.
“So that when you’re running in April [in a spring marathon], you know I’m on the team,” he said. “So you know how to run in the next race and try to prepare. But if you are confirmed late, it’s not really very good because, to prepare mentally, time will catch up.”
Kipsang is the favorite in the five-borough race Sunday, but he was defeated in his previous two marathons.
Kipsang finished second to countryman Eliud Kipchoge in the London Marathon in April and then dropped out of the World Championships marathon in Beijing in August, saying then, “the heat got the better of me,” but on Thursday that he considered it a training run.
Is Kipsang then worried Athletics Kenya could pass him over for the Olympics?
“Somebody like me I don’t have much pressure,” he said. “Whether I’m with the team or not, I will still have races to run.”