NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Former world champions Linet Masai and Ezekiel
Kemboi of Kenya plan to break into the marathon elite runners
after retiring from the track competition.
Masai, a former
World 10,000m champion, will have a baptism by fire when she
reignites her rivalry with former Olympic champion Meseret Defar
at the Amsterdam marathon in Netherlands in Oct. 21.
Masai has not been
active for the last two years as she delivered her baby.
However, she feels it will be good to plunge to the deep end of
athletics and the Dutch capital will provide good ground for her
hunt as she takes her career a notch higher.
“I am ready for the
marathon,” she said. “My management has been able to get me a
race in Amsterdam and I want to see how my body will react to
it. I have hopes of doing well, but am also not certain how it
will go. It is my first marathon race.”
In Amsterdam, Masai
will face twice Olympic 5,000m champion Meseret Defar, with whom
they have dueled a lot on the track ever since she broke the
duck at the 2007 World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa.
Both Masai and Defar
will be making their marathon debut in Amsterdam on Oct. 21
after battling loss of form and shaking off motherhood rust.
The Ethiopian has
run several half-marathons with a best of 66:09 for second in
the Great North Run in 2013.
Bekele, who won last year in 2:21:54 and went 14 seconds quicker
for third and a personal best time at the London Marathon in
2018, will be in her way.
Masai, the 2009
world 10,000m champion who has run 68:11 for the half is also
keen to break the 42km jinx.
Other athletes to
watch out for include Meseret Belete, who set a world junior
record of 67:51 in Copenhagen this year and was eighth at the
Former world junior
cross country bronze medalist Jackline Chepngeno will also be
eyeing victorious debut in marathon. Ethiopia’s Guteni Shone,
who has a PB of 2:23:32, could also challenge.
who has a best of 2:27:32, leads home hopes. Meanwhile, Olympic
winner and four time world champion in steeple Ezekiel Kemboi
plans to make his debut in the marathon next year.
“I was motivated by
[Eliud] Kipchoge with whom we were together in 2003 during the
World Championships. I will be venturing into the 42km race,
where I want to perform well just like in the track. My first
marathon race will be in Europe and I’m yet to confirm it,” said
Kemboi, who ran a 66:52 half-marathon this year before three
steeplechase races culminated with a sixth at the Kenyan
Kemboi is yet to
settle on which city course he intends to debut in marathon.
recovers from injury, targets New York marathon debut
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Former London marathon champion Daniel Wanjiru has recovered
from a stomach problem that forced him to drop out of the Great
North run in Newcastle and will be ready to challenge for honors
at the New York marathon on Nov 4.
The 26-year-old has
struggled since winning the London race in 2017, but believes
his worst days are over as he intensifies his training in Nakuru
in preparations for the New York marathon, where he eyes his
first win in U.S. soil.
“I had a stomach
infection during the Great North Run in September, which denied
me the chance to win the race,” said Wanjiru on Sunday in Nakuru.
“However, I’m back
in training and fully focused on New York marathon in just a few
On Saturday, Wanjiru
was in top form as he run over 35km with his group of training
mates and believes he will increase the mileage as he approaches
the November date.
Wanjiru has been a
shadow of his former self this year as he failed to defend his
crown in London, finishing seventh in a race that was won by
Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge.
However, the 2016
Amsterdam champion believes he has what it takes to claim his
maiden New York Marathon title.
“I look forward to
running with the champion Geoffrey Kamworor and other world
champions. I have no pressure going into the race and that is
huge bonus to me,” said Wanjiru.
“I’m very happy to
be part of the elite team at the New York marathon. Training is
going on well and I’m getting ready to make my debut in New
York,” he added.
The 26-year-old has
a personal best time of 2:05:21, which he set in Amsterdam in
He was a surprise
winner in London when he clocked a time of 2:05:48 for victory
ahead of Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele in 2017.
However, he failed
to show his best show when he returned to London for the World
Marathon Championships last year, where he was eighth clocking
He started the year
with poor show in Houston half marathon, where he clocked 62:55
minutes in position 25.
He also ran in
Netherlands over 10km. But it is the challenge he anticipates in
New York that inspires him. Champion Geoffrey Kamworor will be
the man to beat alongside Wanjiru.
There is also Boston
Marathon bronze medalist Shadrack Biwott as well as American
Bernard Lagat, who will be making his debut in the marathon.
Mirriam Wangari and Cosmas
Kipimo Lagat lead
Kenya contingent in Hengshui Marathon in China
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Gunsan Marathon champion Mirriam Wangari and
Cosmas Kipimo Lagat lead a five-member Kenya delegation to
Hengshui Lake International Marathon in China, eyeing to break
the course records.
The race staged in
Hengshui city is an IAAF Silver Label road race. Speaking in
Nairobi, Wangari, a veteran in China marathons, says she has
recovered well after clinching the Gunsan Marathon in South
Korea in April.
“My focus is now on
winning the Hengshui race,” Wangari told Xinhua in Nairobi.
“I love running in
China because of their good organization and the international
stars that are paraded in the marathons. I believe with good
weather I will be able to improve on my personal best time of
2:07:53 set in Xiamen in 2015.”
The 39-year-old is
not about to hang her running spikes. She targets Hengshui
Marathon course record of 2:25:43 set by compatriot Agnes
Jepkemboi Kiprop in 2015.
Wangari debuted late
at the 2012 Xiamen Marathon where she was fifth.
In 2015, she was
second at the Dongying Yellow River Marathon and was fifth at
the Xiamen race in 2015. In 2017 she was third in Nagano
Marathon in Japan and fifth at Argentina’s Buenos Aires
In Hengshui, she
will team up with Caroline Kilel, whose best time of 2:22:34 was
set in 2013 in Frankfurt.
Since her marathon
debut in 2003, the 27-year-old has won a series of titles
including the 2011 Boston Marathon. Her last victory was in
Daegu, South Korea two years ago clocking 2:27:39, but she has
never managed to break 2:30 since.
In the men’s race,
Kenya’s Cosmas Lagat, 27, is the man to watch. He owns a
lifetime best of 2:08:14 from his second victory in Sevilla in
He also took top
honors in the Spain in 2014 with a time of 2:08:33, but has
never competed in China.
“I know there are
top Ethiopians on the start list. But they have fast time, which
will not count as we start in Hengshui Marathon. I have done
well in training and believe I have the extra motivation to win
the race,” said Lagat in Nairobi.
The field also
includes Kenyan duo Dominic Ruto (2:09:08) who won in Rome last
year before setting the course record at the Beirut Marathon,
and Mathew Kipsaat (2:09:19), who won the 2016 Tunis Marathon
and 2017 Las Palmas Gran Canaria Marathon.
But neither of the
duo has managed to dip under 2:10 in 2018. Ethiopia will be led
by Lemi Berhanu, 24, who has a personal best of 2:04:33 set at
the 2016 Dubai Marathon where he finished second.
It will be his
fourth marathon race in China since his debut over the classic
distance in 2014.
He claimed the
Taiyuan Marathon title that year and went on to finish 15th
at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing in 2:17:36. Last
year, Berhanu clocked 2:08:27 to win the Xiamen Marathon.
On Saturday, he will
attempt to break the 2:07:38 course record set by his compatriot
Markos Geneti in 2014.
also from Ethiopia, is the second fastest entrant with a best
time of 2:04:52 from his fourth place finish in Dubai back in
Lucy Wambui and Geoffrey Gikuni
lead Kenya charge at German Mountain Race
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
World champion Lucy Wambui and her Kenyan
compatriot Geoffrey Gikuni believe they will withstand the storm
and retain the International Hochfelln Mountain Race, the
penultimate stop of the 2018 World Cup, in Bergen, Germany on
Wambui recently won
in the Sierre-Zinal race in Switzerland and will be making her
first appearance at this race in Germany.
“It is down to the
preparations and training. I believe everyone has entered the
race to win, but I have the stamina and endurance to survive the
challenge. It is a hard competition and only the strongest
survive,” Wambui said on Saturday.
At last year’s World
Championships in Premana, Italy, Wambui won her first world
title getting the better of seven-time world champion Andrea
Mayr of Austria.
Mayr didn’t wait
long to get revenge, taking nearly four minutes out of the
Kenyan at the Kitzbuheler Horn Race a few weeks later.
The pair will battle
it out again at Hochfelln this year, with eight-time winner Mayr
looking to avenge her defeat at the 2018 World Championships in
Andorra two weeks ago.
“The line-up is
always strong each year. The pressure is on the champion to
retain the title and I will start the race with that in mind,”
The strong women’s
field also includes Ivana Iozzia of Italy, a two-time winner of
the Zermatt Marathon, Challenge Stellina Susa winner Sarah
McCormack of Ireland, top Italians Gloria Guidici and Camilla
Magliano, 2017 German mountain running champion Sarah Kistner,
who has twice finished second in Bergen, and 2016 Sierre-Zinal
winner Michelle Maier, currently Germany’s top female mountain
In the men’s field
Gikuni will be looking for another victory to add to his 2018
wins but will face stiff challenge from compatriot Timothy
Kimutai and Eritrea’s Filmon Abraham.
The 2017 World Long
Distance champion Francesco Puppi from Italy, seventh at this
year’s World Championships ahead of the Kenyan, will also be
aiming for the top place of the podium in Bergen. The top German
athlete is Toni Palzer.
Kenya’s Kipchoge relishes
Berlin world record win, no plans for next marathon
NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Berlin marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge says he
will handle the pressure that comes with breaking the world
record by remaining true to himself.
Speaking in Eldoret,
Kipchoge said he will take time off the recover after the
grueling challenge in the German capital and will not be rushing
to announce his new venture until early next year.
“I will handle the
pressure and remain normal. I want to get back to my life and
train normally,” Kipchoge told Xinhua on Saturday. “It was first
a dream but now after doing it, I believe. It is now a reality
that I broke the world record.”
The 33-year-old, who
has only lost one out of the 11 races back in 2013, says he
abhors celebrity lifestyle and he is contended to leave the way
“I don’t like to
gloat and live large. I believe the record was set in Berlin and
all the 45 million Kenyans and other fans saw it. I prefer to
remain silent because it was a record that Kenya will be proud
of and own it for some time. It was my work to go for it, now
Kenyans can be happy for it,” he added.
The Kenyan raised
the bar slashing off one minute and 18 seconds off compatriot
Dennis Kimetto’s previous world record of 2:02:57, which he set
in winning the Berlin marathon in 2014.
“I wanted to run a
personal best and that is what that record is to me,” he added.
Kipchoge’s coach and
former steeplechase world champion Patrick Sang paid tribute to
his athlete’s commitment to the course and discipline as the
major contributor to his startling performance, which has seen
him win 11 marathons in 12 attempts.
“There is no secret
about him other than to say he is a disciplined runner. He is
honest and always has his focus and plans. From a humble
beginning, he has built his name and it is important that he
safeguards it,” he said.
champion Gladys Cherono said she is happy Kipchoge set the world
record and will one day want it to her illustrious cup.
“I was happy to win
my own race. But what Kipchoge did was extra ordinary. He did
well and has inspired me to one day go for the women’s world
record,” she said.
That will be a tall
order for Cherono, whose winning time of 2:18:10 set a new
women’s record at the German capital.
Cherono improved on
her previous best time of 2:19:25 set in winning the first of
her three Berlin titles in 2015. Current world marathon record
in women stands at 2:15:25 set by Paula Radcliffe in 2003.