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Jepchumba sets sights on marathon debut

Monaco, Wednesday @PoepleSports11

It was while in school in Kenya that Violah Jepchumba realised she had a talent for running. She didn’t start training, however, until 2010 and it has only been in the past couple of years that the world has seen her potential.

She is now one of a few women threatening to rewrite the road-running record books. The 27-year-old, who was born in Kenya but now runs for Bahrain, broke through with a 1:09:29 half- marathon in Udine in 2015, but then the following year truly made the running world take notice.

She won the Prague Half Marathon in 1:05:51, which was then the fourth quickest ever time on a record-eligible course and made her the third-fastest performer in history.

“When I was at school I was very good without training,” she said. But it was her sister Priscah Jepleting Cherono, 10 years her senior, who first made an impact in the sport. Jepleting earned silver at the 2006 World Cross Country Championships, bronze in the 5,000m at the 2007 World Championships and has a best of 1:08:35 for the half- marathon.

Jepchumba trains mainly with her husband and coach, Ismael Motosio, who paced her at this year’s Prague Half Marathon when she set an Asian record of 1:05:22, along with an Asian record of 30:05 with her 10km split.

When she doesn’t have the person that knows her best as the ideal pacemaker, she doesn’t mind being so far in front of the rest of the women in the field that she is effectively running on her own. “It’s not difficult,” she said.

“Sometimes I even like running alone.” But at the recent Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon on 1 October, where she had been due to defend her title, she had to withdraw after becoming ill the night before.

It was set to have been her last road race of the season so, as she explained, it was “back to Kenya for cross country and preparing for the World Half next year.”

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