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Kenyans eye glory in Valencia Marathon next month

ATHLETICS By Jonathan Komen and Agencies | November 8th 2020
World Athletics Half Marathon Championships - Gdynia, Poland - October 17, 2020 Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir celebrates on the podium with her medal after winning gold and breaking the women-only world record [REUTERS/Rafal Oleksiewicz]

Kenya’s road running luminaries are expected to light up this year’s Valencia Marathon on December 6.

At least 100 athletes from 43 countries in the elite edition are seeking to book their tickets to the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.

The event will be one of the few to be held after the long break without competitions caused by Covid-19 pandemic disruption. The stars will seek to achieve the Olympic qualifying time (2:11.30 for men and 2:29.30 for women) for participation in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Kenya’s world 21km women-only 21km record holder Peres Jepchirchir, world 21km mixed race record holder Joyceline Jepkosgei and Boston and Chicago Marathon winner Lawrence Cherono as well as Joan Chelimo and Fancy Chemutai will fly the Kenyan flag in the Spanish city.

Many of the 100 athletes seeking a place in the Olympics are members of the MyBest42 programme, which began in 2015 under the name Road to Rio in preparation for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, which aims to attract as many sub-elite athletes as possible. 

Due to the speed of the Valencia circuit and the suspension of marathons around the world, the edition is one of the few options for achieving a validated qualifying time for participation in the Olympics.

In addition, the top ten finishers, both men and women, will obtain – provided they are selected by their federations — direct Olympic classification thanks to the World Athletics regulations for Platinum Label races. This is the first year the Valencia Marathon is being run after being awarded this label and it is one of only 13 races worldwide with this distinction. 

Others who are hoping to achieve this direct placement by finishing in the top 10 include Birhanu Legese (2:02.48), Kinde Atanaw (2:03.51), Leul Gebreselasie (2:04.02) and Turkey’s Kaan Kigen Özbilen (2:04:16).[]


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