Karoki officially exits track: World Half silver medallist now ready for marathon challenge
Japan-based athlete now targets good show in big city marathons after fourth-place finish at London World Championships.
After making his debut at the London Marathon in April where he finished third in 2:07:41, Japan-based Bedan Karoki says he now ready to fully concentrate in marathon running.
His main challenge is the Fukuoka Marathon on December 3.
The 27-year-old Nyandarua-born has ruled out going back to track running as he targets big city marathons.
His fourth place finish at the IAAF London World championships in August marked the end of his track appearance.
Now he believes it’s the time to step up to 42 kilometre race and also make his fans happy on the road just like he has been doing on the track.
“Next season, I won’t be running on the track. I will be concentrating on marathons and for now I’m focusing on my second marathon in December. I am eager to see what is in store for me,” said Karoki who runs for DeNA Cooperate team in Tokyo.
Since making national team at the 2011 at the All Africa Games in Maputo where he won silver medal in 10,000m, Karoki has been a regular.
He finished in second place twice behind Geoffrey Kamworor at the 2015 IAAF World Cross Country Championship in Guiyang, China and World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, United Kingdom the following year.
Karoki has raced in seven half-marathons since his 59:58 debut in 2014, running an impressive sub-60-minute performances in six meetings and topping the podium in five of them.
“My long term target is making it to the Team Kenya marathon squad to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics if I remain healthy and in good form.
“I’m based in Tokyo, I’m so used to the climate here, it’s my second home and it will feel great to make it to the team,” said a hopeful Karoki.
“My track performance were not bad, but you know I never won gold at the major championships, but at the same time I am thankful that I haven’t missed the national team squad since 2011.
He added: “Getting two silvers at 2015 World Cross Country and World Half marathon in 2016 kept me going, I’m glad it has encouraged me to keep working hard in training,” he said.
Long-distance running has been a tradition in Japan for Kenyan runners with many companies setting sports teams and universities offering scholarships.
Many Kenyan top runners have benefited from the programme since the time of the 1987 World Marathon Champion Douglas Wakiihuri, the late Samuel Wanjiru and former national cross country champion Gideon Ngatuny.
Former world junior 3,000m steeplechase champion Jonathan Muya, Africa Cross country Champion Leonard Barsoton and the IAAF World bronze medalist Paul Tanui are among top names based in Japan.
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