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Victor, Mercy to defend Eldoret race titles

Eldoret City Marathon champion Victor Kipchirchir after picking his BIB number at the Eldoret Sports Club yesterday. [Stephen Rutto, Standard]

Eldoret City Marathon reigning champions Victor Kipchirchir and Mercy Kipchumba will be defending their titles tomorrow.

Kipchirchir and Kipchumba, who displayed pure talent last year, racing into surprising victories, were among the latest entrants into the marathon.

They will be facing off a strong field of elite athletes eying wins in one of the most challenging marathon courses.

No athlete has defended their Eldoret City Marathon title since the first edition in 2018, and any one of them who will win tomorrow will be the first to successfully retain their top place.

Last year, former Frankfurt Marathon winner Valary Jemeli attempted to defend her 2018 title but was overpowered by Kipchumba and other top performers in the last 4km. Jemeli placed 22.

“I understand that this is a tough race and is always full of surprises. I am ready to run a good race on Sunday and I will be happier if I emerge victorious again this year. The most important thing is to run a good race,” Kipchumba said yesterday.

Last year, Kipchumba tactically outclassed a strong field comprising two-time world cross country champion Emily Chebet and Bahraini marathoner Eunice Chumba among other top guns.

Kipchirchir, who had indicated that he had been entered in Vienna Marathon set for April 24, was among athletes who picked their BIB numbers in readiness for the race. He was allocated BIB number one.

He said he changed his mind and decided to defend his Eldoret City Marathon title. He did not disclose whether he will still take part in the Vienna Marathon.

“I am prepared to compete. See you at the finish line,” Kipchirchir said.