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Paris champion sets her sights on German city race

Emmanuel Masinde @baromeo

Paris Marathon winner Betsy Saina is all but ready to face the challenge of elite Kenyan athletes during Frankfurt Marathon on October 28.

Saina who is slowly getting familiar with the marathon after making her transition from the track to road races in 2016, believes that she is about to make the break in the road running career.

In April, Saina won in Paris with a personal best of 2.22.56 and is looking forward to improve on that time. Saina said she is excited to run in Frankfurt and her training is good better than before.

“I am very happy to run in Frankfurt. My training is better than before, I do not want to put pressure on myself but, just to run my own race,” said Saina after her morning training session as she embarked on her final touches for the race in the German city.

She is eager to run in Frankfurt, which she says is on a flat course and equally challenging as she builds her body for future competitions and courses.

“My ability to run a major city marathon is not yet but after the outcome I will decide to run in major marathons,” she said. Saina won a windy Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon in Japan in a promising time of 1.09.17.

The 31-year-old decided to move from her Colorado Springs base in the US to Iten in Elgeyo-Marakwet County to enjoy altitude training advantage and also work out alongside Kenya’s elites.

Running for Nike Bowerman Track Club, the Iowa State University nursing graduate says the training at altitude holds her in good stead.

Saina says training in Iten makes her concentrate more as she mingles with other top athletes. “Meeting with other top athletes training here is good for me. It is a big boost to me unlike in USA where I train alone for both long run and speed work,” she says of her training in the country.

Saina says she is happy for good health and hope for the best.“I know the benefits of hard work as my training has been good and having been training among familiar and top athletes, I will go out and compete well and just run my race,” she said.

Saina, who hails from Nandi Hills, Nandi County, represented Kenya in the Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro in 10,000m where she finished fifth in a time of 30:7.78.

Saina was eighth at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing (31:51.35) and lined up for Tokyo Marathon 2017 but didn’t finish because of injury.

She added: “Last year, I tried my luck in Tokyo Marathon but I was not able to finish because I had a leg injury.”

During the Great North Run Half Marathon in Birmingham, England, Saina finished fifth (1:11:25) in a race that saw Mary Keitany win in 1:05:59, followed by Cheruiyot (1:07:44). Saina will be joined by Valentine Kipketer, Nancy Kiprop, Janet Rono and Sylvia Medugu in the Frankfurt race.

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