Champion Ruth Chepng’etich eyes successful marathon defence

AK president Jack Tuwei and marathon team

Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei (seated third right), Amsterdam Marathon Champion Angela Tanui (left), Schneider Marathon Champion Judith Korir (second left), Valencia Marathon Champion Lawrence Cherono, Olympic Marathon Champion Peres Jepchirchir (second right), World Marathon Champion Ruth Chepng’etich (right), 2019 Hong Kong Marathon Champion Barnabas Kiptum (standing from left), former New York Marathon Champion Geoffrey Kamwaror, former World Marathon Champion Geoffrey Kirui and Milcah Chemos, Athletics Kenya’s Athletes Representative, during unveiling of the Kenya Marathon team to the World Championships which will be held in Eugene, United State of America in July, at a function held at Kenmosa Village in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County on June 17, 2022.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The women’s marathon race will be run on a mostly flat 14-kilometer looped course that will run through Eugene and Springfield. Athletes will start and finish in front of the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium.
  • According to the championship’s Local Organising Committee, the course follows long sections of the marathon route used for the 1972 and 1976 US Olympic trials, while also showcasing the beauty and history of Oregon through the landmarks and landscapes of Eugene and Springfield.

All eyes will be on defending champion Ruth Chepng’etich from Kenya when she lines up for the women’s marathon race at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Monday at 4.15pm (EAT).

In the 2019 edition of the biennial championship, Chepng’etich defied searing heat in Doha to win gold in 2 hours, 32 minutes and 43 seconds, followed by Kenyan-born Bahraini Rose Chelimo (2:33.46), and Helalia Johannes of Namibia (2:34.15).

Other than being the defending champion, the 27-year-old holds the fastest time in the field this season of 2:17:18 from her victory in Nagoya Marathon in March this year.

She will line up with Tokyo Marathon champion Angela Tanui, and Paris Marathon champion Judith Korir in Team Kenya against a star-studded field featuring athletes from Kenya’s traditional rivals Ethiopia, and Kenyan-born athletes representing other countries.

The enormity of the task ahead is not lost in Chepng’etich.

“I know all the focus will be on me as the defending champion. Naturally, I would like to retain my title from Doha, and that calls for team work as well. The real challenge in a marathon race starts at the 30km mark, but I believe we will work as a team to make it to the finish line,” the former record holder in the half marathon (1:04.02), who also finished third in the 2020 London Marathon said.

Olympics marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, who was a late addition to the team, pulled out this month due to a hip injury which she picked in training.

Tanui, who has a personal best of 2:17.57 from her victory in 2021 Amsterdam Marathon, also boasts the fourth fastest time this season of 2:18.42 which she registered in her triumphant run to the 2022 Tokyo Marathon title.

“I am excited at the prospect of representing Kenya in a major championship for the first time. It will be an honour to run alongside some of the best marathoners from Kenya and the world. The timing of the race does not affect anything,” the 29-year-old Tanui said of the scheduling of the women’s 42km contest, which will be run on the fourth day of the championship rather than on the first day as is often the norm.

Korir won this year’s Paris Marathon in a personal best time of 2:19.48.

Kenyan marathoners trained for the championship separately in Eldoret, Kapsabet and Ngong.

The Kenyan trio should expect stiff challenge from Ethiopians, 2021 Berlin Marathon champion Gotytom Gebreslasie (2:20.09) who also won this year’s Tokyo Marathon in a time of 2:18:18, the 2019 Chicago Marathon silver medalist Ababel Yeshaneh who has a personal best of 2:20.51, and Ashete Bekere who finished third in last year’s London Marathon in a time of 2:18.18, and has a personal best of 2:17:58 this season.

Others are Kenyan-born Bahraini Eunice Chumba, and Lorna Chemtai Salpeter from Israel.

Salpeter will be out to atone for poor performance in the 2019 edition of the championship, having wilted in Doha heat and dropped out of the race.

The women’s marathon race will be run on a mostly flat 14-kilometer looped course that will run through Eugene and Springfield. Athletes will start and finish in front of the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium.

According to the championship’s Local Organising Committee, the course follows long sections of the marathon route used for the 1972 and 1976 US Olympic trials, while also showcasing the beauty and history of Oregon through the landmarks and landscapes of Eugene and Springfield.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.