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World Half Marathon record holder chooses to start slow ahead of marathon debut in Honolulu

World Half Marathon record holder Joyceline Jepkosgei is relishing the opportunity to make her full marathon debut in Honolulu, USA on December 9.

In what will be a day after her 25th birthday, the 24-year old, who won the second edition of the Army cross country 10km race in a time of 31:36.4, says she has been taking her time before graduating into the elite marathons.

“I have been training hard to maintain my 2017 form as I head into my first marathon. I chose to start slow, in a less intense marathon, as I gauge how good I am in the distance. I don’t have a specific time in mind yet but I just want to have a good race and see what happens after that,” said Jepkosgei moments after defending her Army 10km title on Friday.

The multiple world record holder, who turned professional in 2015, had a somewhat quiet career in the first two years. She finished second in the 2016 Athletics Kenyan Defence Forces 5K and 10K races before earning  third place in the 10,000m at the National Athletics Championships.

She, however, took the world by storm in 2017, breaking three records. In her premier race debut, she lowered her Half Marathon personal best to 66:08 for third in the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates, making her the seventh fastest all time.

World records

A month-and-a-half later, she established herself as the fastest all time, running a sub 65 for the world record of 64:52 lowering the previous record by 14 seconds. A month later, she broke her half marathon world record yet again, lowering it by one second in 64:51 at the Valencia Half Marathon.

En route to being the half marathon world record holder, she set three other world records in 10K, 15K, and 20K. She ran the 10k race in 30:04 shattering Paula Radcliffe’s 14-year-old record of 30:21. Jepkosgei then broke Florence Kiplagat’s 15km world record of 46:15, registering a new mark of 45:37. She beat Peres Jepchirchir’s 61:40 in the 20km race to set a new record of 61:25.

Jepkosgei, in her quest for a maiden marathon title, will be rivaled by Joyce Chepkirui, a two-time Honolulu Marathon winner (2014-2015) with an impressive 45 career wins.

Chepkurui will be looking to reclaim the title, having won bronze in the 2017 edition.

Other elite competitors in Honolulu include Vivian Kiplagat and Sheila Jerotich.

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