Although it will be her first time to compete in women’s 21km category, Gladys Jepkoech is optimistic of an impressive result when she lines up for the inaugural Lukenya University One Million Trees Marathon.
The marathon will be held in Mtito Andei, Makueni County, on Sunday.
Jepkoech has been doing both long and short runs for over one month and she feels quite confident that she can lift the title.
“I think I have done all that I can to prepare for this race. Even if I don’t win, I would love to improve on my time. My target is to finish the race in under an hour,” Jepkoech told Standard Sports.
Jepkoech has been doing her training sessions both in the morning and evening on the designated marathon route.
“I also stretch a lot. I feel my body is flexible. The only thing that I don’t do is gym work,” she said.
Jepkoech was inspired into athletics by her parents who are very supportive of her extra-curriculum passion.
They have bought her training kits and time and again, encourage her to carry on whenever she feels like giving up on the sport.
Her other inspiration in the sport is drawn from world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, who she has watched many times cruising to the tape. He is her idol.
“I would like to smash records someday, especially in the Olympics and World Championships, just the way Eliud does. I know it’s not easy, but like he says, no human is limited,” said Jepkoech.
Ahead of the Sunday marathon, Jepkoech is working on her speed and finishing kick even though she feels her body is in the right frame for the contest.
“I might choose to go for 42km in future races depending on how I perform this weekend,” she said.
Concerning her opinion about the Lukenya One Million Trees Marathon, Jepkoech said: “It’s a fantastic idea which will improve our ecosystem."
“We hope to see Makueni County become greener after we plant the one million trees. I believe the county will have an attractive environment as more trees will translate into a better climate in the zone.”
The men and women’s categories to be contested during the marathon are the 42km, 21km, 10km and 5km categories. It’s only the 5km category that will not have any prize money.
Other athletes to represent the university in the marathon include Kones Kibet, Mercy Kiprotich, Victor Kimutai, and Nathan Ruto, among others.