Nairobi, Thursday @PeopleSport11
World half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya has put aside her plans to debut in the full marathon until 2019.
Jepkosgei, 25, had earmarked December to debut in the 42km distance, but says she is not yet ready for the longer event, and will bide her time until next season to launch her career in the marathon with the aim of making Kenya’s team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Last week, Jepkosgei won the Eldoret Half marathon to add to her list of illustrious showings at the 21km distance. However, she says she still needs more time to fine-tune her body for the longer distance.
“I will not be working to lower my time (64:51) at 21km because I want to concentrate on the marathon next year, where I hope to be as successful as I have been in the half marathon,” Jepkosgei told Xinhua on Tuesday.
Kenya has the world’s largest concentration of elite marathon runners, and Jepkosgei knows the challenge she faces in carving her niche in the discipline. “I want to have an impact when I transition to the marathon.
I don’t need to rush anything,” she said. Jepkosgei, who has been troubled by injury since setting her half marathon world record time of 64:51 in Valencia last October, believes she still has more to do to return to her top level of performance, and believes that venturing into the full marathon this year is not an attainable goal.
“My coach is preparing me for a marathon. He told me that I will go for training and then he will see how my body is. It will be next year,” she said. “China’s marathons are good, though I have no particular race lined up now. But I know it will be good to test myself there.”
The Xiamen Marathon in January may be her event of choice if her management receives an invitation from the organisers.
Jepkosgei finished third in a time of 68:10 at this year’s Great North Run in Newcastle, England, her third race this year. Injury concerns have limited the Kenyan’s participation in international competition, but she believes she is getting better. In May, Jepkosgei finished second at the Manchester 10km run behind Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba.
And after her Eldoret win last week, the Kenyan reaffirmed that she is getting closer to her best form. “The race was too challenging because of its competitiveness. Running locally is too competitive, making it hard to make it to the top,” said Jepkosgei, who clocked a time of 71:01.
Former Commonwealth Games marathon champion Flomena Cheyech has confirmed she will be competing at the Shanghai Marathon on November 18. Cheyech has had torrid season this year and barely held on to finish the Nagoya Marathon in March, finishing 19th in a slow time of 2:33:01.
However, the 36-year-old has since shaken off the fatigue and injury that slowed her down and is focused on winning in China.
“I have been out of competition for long because of the injury I got in Japan. But it has since healed and I am back in competition,” said Cheyech after finishing second in 71:05 in the Eldoret Half marathon. Now she is focused on winning in
Shanghai next month. “I normally run a few road races to prepare my body and gauge how good it is for the marathon distance. Shanghai is the next stop for me in November, and hopefully I will be able to run well and win the gold medal,” she added. – XINHUA