by John Kwoba
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- World half
marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei said her injury
worries are behind her ahead of her debut marathon race in
Hamburg on Sunday.
Despite running a slow race in New
York in March, which she won in 70:07 minutes, the Kenyan says
her focus has always been on marathon since she announced it in
December of last year.
"This season my preparations were all focused on debuting in
"It was great to win the half marathon in New York. It helped
me gauge how my body feels," Jepkosgei said on Friday.
"I believe in my training. I can confirm that the twisted leg
during training has since healed and as shown in New York, [and
I] am back to running at full throttle," she added.
The women’s contest will also feature Portuguese star Jessica
Augusto, who won the race in 2017 clocking 2:25:30.
Madai Perez of Mexico (2:22:59), Japan’s Tomomi Tanaka
(2:23:19) and Dibabe Kuma of Ethiopia (2:23:34) are among the
favorites whereas Kenya’s hope rests on Jackline Chepngeno
(2:24:38) and Jepkosgei.
Jepkosgei’s debut over the 42.2km distance has been fervently
anticipated since the Kenyan, 25, produced her sensational 2017
season, breaking six world records.
Four of those came in one race, the Prague Half Marathon,
where she clocked 30:05 at 10km, 45:37 at 15km and 1:01:25 at
20km en route to a 1:04:52 performance over the full distance.
She clipped another second from that mark in Valencia the
following October, lowering the world record to 64 minutes and
51 seconds where it currently stands.
In 2017, again in Prague, Jepkosgei shattered the 10km record
at the Prague Grand Prix, clocking a phenomenal 29:43.
Slowed in part by illness, her 2018 season didn’t produce the
same record-shattering achievements, but she did race to silver
at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia in
Hamburg organizers were quick to draw a parallel to another
high profile marathon debut on their course, that of Eliud
Kipchoge in 2013, when the Kenyan ace cruised to victory in
But Jepkosgei insisted that parallel wasn’t on her mind when
choosing the setting for her debut.
"My manager and my coach both told me that Hamburg has a fast
and flat course," she explained.
"I would like to achieve a time of around 2:22. I have
completed my preparation.
"I have to wait and see how my body reacts to the course.
"I have to determine my final goal and let me see how it pans
out," the Kenyan added.
Kemboi to plunge into marathon in Hamburg
by John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Former world and Olympic steeplechase champion
Ezekiel Kemboi will be making his marathon debut in Hamburg on
With the 37-year-old having carved a splendid career on track
in the water and hurdle race, many fans will be eager to see how
he will take up the new challenge running the longer 42km
distance against some of the strongest and fastest marathon
"I have already won the Olympics, Worlds, Commonwealth Games
and Africa title," Kemboi said on Friday.
"What remains is to venture into the new territory and see
where I rank.
"It will determine how long my career will be on athletics,"
Kemboi has immersed himself in long run trainings in Eldoret
and hopes he will emerge in the German city with an enhanced
reputation to stamp his foot on the marathon circuit.
Kemboi has only raced one 10km road race last year in Italy
which he won, but has no experience in half or full marathon
"There is a moment for every new start. I will seize my
chance and see how I fare. I don’t care who I will be up
against," he said.
However, there will be no shortage of rivals for the Kenyan.
His compatriot and former two-time world champion Abel Kirui
and Uganda’s former world and Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich
are among the leading entrants for the Hamburg Marathon.
Other standout entrants in the men’s race include Ethiopians
Ayele Abshero (2:04:23) and Tadu Abate (2:06:47) and Kenya’s
Laban Korir (2:05:54).
Kiprotich, the 2012 Olympic and 2013 world marathon champion,
will return to the northern German port city for the third time,
after finishing second in 2017 and fifth in 2018.
The 29-year-old, who is the national record holder at
2:06:33, clocked sub-2:08 performances in both of his Hamburg
The fastest runner on the start list is Ayele Abshero, who
clocked 2:04:23 in his marathon debut at the 2012 Dubai
The Ethiopian returns after finishing third last year.
Kirui, the world champion over the distance in 2009 and 2011,
has already announced his intention of chasing the course record
of 2:05:30, which was set by Eliud Kipchoge in his marathon
debut in 2013.
"I’m focusing so much on Hamburg Marathon because I want to
break the course record on Sunday," Kirui said.
The 36-year-old former Olympic silver medalist from London
2012 said he is gearing to regain his top form as he seeks to
run one of his fastest races. Kirui holds a personal best time
of 2:05:04 from Rotterdam almost 10 years ago.
"It will be a big challenge for me as I will be preparing to
beat Eliud Kipchoge course record.
"It will be a big show and I welcome fans to cheer me on," he
Compatriots Jonathan Korir and Amos Mitei, who have personal
bests of 2:06:51 and 2:07:28 respectively, are also among the
Japan’s Taku Fujimoto, who clocked his personal best of
2:07:57 at the Chicago Marathon in 2018, will also be in the