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Kenyans set to light up Valencia

Last updated 1 month ago | By Jonathan Komen

Athletics - World Athletics Half Marathon Championships - Gdynia, Poland - October 17, 2020. Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir (R) in action. [REUTERS/Rafal Oleksiewicz]

Peres Jepchirchir, who recently broke the world half marathon record and Joyciline Jepkosgei, the former world half marathon record-holder are among those who will line up.  Joan Chelimo and Fancy Chemutai are also in the mix.

In 2017, Jepkosgei authored one of the greatest seasons the distance running the world has ever seen, breaking no less than seven world records on the roads (including two in the half marathon).

Jepkosgei was supposed to run in Honolulu in 2018 but withdrew with a twisted ankle. She was set to debut in Hamburg in 2019, but switched at the last minute to pace London Marathon.

By the time Jepkosgei finally debuted in New York last year, the hype around her debut had largely subsided.

Then she went out and crushed it, running a remarkable 2:22:38 to miss the New York City Marathon course record by just seven seconds. It’s time to fire up the hype machine again.

Jepkosgei, who was sixth at the World Half Marathon Championships in October, is running her second marathon, and a win plus the NYC victory would cement her status as one of the world’s elite marathoners.

Athletics - World Athletics Half Marathon Championships - Gdynia, Poland - October 17, 2020. Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir celebrates on the podium with her medal and cheque after winning gold and breaking the women-only world record. [REUTERS/Rafal Oleksiewicz]

Jepchirchir is one of the toughest athletes in the world at the moment. She has broken the women’s-only half marathon world record in each of her last two races: first in Prague on September 5 (65:34), then in Gdynia on October 17, where she won her second World Half Marathon title (65:16).

Now Jepchirchir will look to take the next step and become a top-tier marathoner. She has only run one marathon which she set 2:23:50 to win in Saitama last year.

As great as Jepchirchir and Jepkosgei are though, neither is the favourite tomorrow. That’s because there really isn’t an outright favourite — given the depth of the field.

Fast times will be the target once again tomorrow. Reigning Tokyo Marathon champion Ruti Aga, who has a personal best of 2:18:34, is the fastest woman in the field.

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