Jepkosgei promises an enjoyable race in Chicago

2019 Kenya's Joyciline Jepkosgei crosses the line to win the women's elite race.[FILE]

When Joyciline Jepkosgei lines up in the Chicago Marathon this Sunday, her sights will be tuned on making history.

Since May this year, the 2021 London Marathon winner has been training at her high altitude base in Iten, ready for the 45th Chicago Marathon.

Her assignment in the women's marathon is simple - to lop minutes off her 2:17 personal best and bring home the Chicago marathon title.

In Chicago, Jepkosgei is looking to bounce back after an injury that saw her finish 12th in the Boston Marathon in April this year.

In the 2023 Boston Marathon, Jepkosgei clocked 2:24:44 in the race won by Hellen Obiri.

"I really struggled with an injury in Boston in April and I am in my best form heading to Chicago," Jepkosgei told Standard Sport ahead of her departure to Chicago yesterday.

A top spot in Chicago will enrich Jepkosgei's already impressive marathon CV.

She is the former half marathon world record holder. She is also the former world record holder in the 10km.

She said she was looking forward to favorable weather conditions in Chicago this Sunday.

Her training in Iten, she says, was rigorous and prepared her well for the eagerly awaited showdown.

"I will run a different race in Chicago. We prepared well with my coach and I will be taking her advice. I will be running in Chicago knowing too well that every race has its unique challenges and each of them requires different tactics," the 2019 New York City Marathon winner said.

Jepkosgei said she was not under pressure to perform in Chicago but would be running a well-measured race.

She said her training in Iten involved building mental and physical strength ahead of the Sunday showdown.

"I will be running my own race with the aim being lowering my marathon personal best. With good conditions in Chicago and rigorous preparations, nothing is impossible. I can only pray that I ran faster on Sunday," she said.

The former world half marathon silver medallist promised fans what she described as "an enjoyable race."

She said the 2:14 mark set by Brigid Kosgei which is now the Chicago marathon course record could be lowered.

"The 2:14:04 former world record can be lowered although that should not be the aim because there are many factors that will determine whether that will be achieved on Sunday.

"I know that there will be many expectations but I assure athletics fans that I will do my best. I am optimistic that my improvement will be seen in Chicago," said Jepkosgei.

Defending champion Ruth Chepngetich will be seeking a hat-trick in Chicago after chalking up victories in 2021 and 2022.

Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan, and a number of Ethiopian women including the 2022 winner of Riyadh Marathon Tadu Teshome, and 2019 Chicago Marathon runner-up Ababel Yeshaneh, Tigist Girma, and Genzebe Dibaba will also be eying glory in Chicago.

By AFP 54 mins ago
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