Kenya’s Jepchirchir promises showdown in Poland

Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir wins the Women's Elite 2016 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff, Wales, Saturday March 26, 2016. [David Davies / PA via AP]

After shattering the women-only world half marathon record last month, Peres Jepchirchir is confident of a good showing at the World Half Marathon Championships on October 17, in Gdynia, Poland.

Jepchirchir, 27, made a return to the Kenyan national team after blowing away a star-studded field to win her maiden world title at the 2016 World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff.

She will be looking to recapture her crown in Poland when she leads a Kenyan squad comprising former world record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei, Dorcas Jepchumba, Brilliant Jepkorir and Rosemary Wanjiru.

“My eyes are on the crown heading to Gdynia, I want to win back my world half-title, but I know the challenge ahead especially when you know the field is strong, but I believe we have the best squad which will enable us win the championship,” Jepchirchir told Xinhua on Friday.

Last month, Jepchirchir shattered the world record at the Prague Half Marathon with 1:05:34 to wrestle the title from Netsanet Gudeta of Ethiopia, who had held the record since 2018.

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya reacts as she crosses the finish line to win the women-only half marathon on September 5, 2020 in Prague. - She ran the fastest women-only half marathon in history in Prague, finishing the race in an hour, five minutes and 34 seconds. [Photo by Michal Cizek / AFP]

The record was Jepchirchir’s second global half marathon record, having clocked 1:05:06 in a mixed gender race at Ras Al Khaimah in 2017, a record which stood for just two months before her compatriot Jepkosgei took over.

“Getting my world half marathon record title back was special moment for me, especially having not competed since mid-March owing to COVID-19, I was excited when I crossed the line in a world record time,” said Jepchirchir, who ventured into road running in 2013 after being inspired by Mary Keitany, the 2017 London Marathon champion. Based on the final figures, 157 men and 126 women from 62 teams have been entered for the championships, the only World Athletics Series event on the global calendar in 2020. 

Jepchirchir in Prague. [Photo by Michal Cizek / AFP]
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