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Olympic champion Cheruiyot leads Kenya
charge at New York Half Marathon

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan Olympic 5,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot will compete in the New York Half Marathon on March 18 in the build-up to the London Marathon.

Cheruiyot, who is the Frankfurt Marathon champion, is the third fastest in the field with a best time of 67:44 behind Ethiopians Mamitu Daska (66:28) and Buze Diriba (66:50).

It will be Cheruiyot’s first race this year. Her last race was in October last year when she raced to victory in Frankfurt clocking in 2:23:35.

“I have a solid training program and will be hopeful it will withstand the challenge of New York. It is always good to see how the body responds in competition so that you can adjust before going to the main marathon competition,” Cheruiyot said on Wednesday.

It will be her third marathon in two years. Cheruiyot made her debut at the distance in London last April, finishing fourth in the high quality field.

The challenge of the half marathon will mean she will have to display her sprinting prowess. With a personal best of 67:44 in the half marathon, she will be hoping her rivals will run slower.

The Kenyan will face two compatriots, former Boston Marathon champion Caroline Rotich and Betsy Saina.

Other notable entrants include Norway’s Karoline Grovdal, Mexico’s Madai Perez and top Americans Emily Sisson, Aliphine Tuliamuk and Desiree Linden.

The elite men’s field is headed by Kenya’s Wilson Chebet, who is also heading to the Boston Marathon in April.

Chebet skipped the chance to represent Kenya at the Commonwealth Games in Australia to focus on reclaiming the Boston title.

He will face a stiff challenge from compatriot and 2016 champion Stephen Sambu, top American Dathan Ritzenhein and Ethiopia’s Teshome Mekonen. The elite field will feature athletes from 15 different countries.

Sambu, 29, won the 2016 race after a third-place finish in 2014 and a photo-finish second place in 2015. In 2016 the Kenyan made his marathon debut in the Chicago Marathon, where he placed fifth with a time of 2:13:35.

He followed that with another fifth-place run last October, albeit with a time that was nearly two-and-a-half minutes faster.

Sambu and Chebet will face a group of Americans, including four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, two-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, American 5K record-holder Ben True, and last year’s top American finisher in the race, Chris Derrick.



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