What you need to know:
- Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga, who won the Tokyo Marathon and finished third at the New York City Marathon in 2019 will also be competing and Ababel Yeshaneh the 2019 Chicago Marathon runner-up are some of the competitors to look out at.
- In 2019, Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei bagged victory in her debut after crossing the line in 2:22:38 ahead of her compatriot Mary Keitany who timed 2:23:32 while Ethiopia’s Aga was third in 2:25:51.
Kenyan-born American athlete Sally Kipyego is thrilled at the prospect of competing in a World Marathon Majors race after a long period when she lines up for New York City Marathon on Sunday.
She last competed in a World Marathon Majors race when she represented Kenya during the 2016 New York Marathon and finished second. Kipyegon has since changed her nationality when she was granted US citizenship in January 2017.
New Marathon is being held for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The competitors will mainly be elite runners in a much reduced field.
Kipyego told Nation Sport that it feels great to compete in a major marathon once again, and she looks forward to a good performance.
Kipyego hopes to banish the demons of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games marathon in which she performed dismally, finishing a distant 17th. Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir won the race, compatriot and women’s world record holder Brigid Kosgei was second.
Kipyego said that the heat in Sapporo, Japan, where the Olympics marathon race was held, overwhelmed her and it took her a long time to recover from the race.
“I was strong when we started the race at the Olympics, but after a few kilometres, my body couldn’t react. My whole body was affected by the rising temperatures, and it was so disappointing because we had really waited for the Games to take place,” said Kipyego, adding that she had little time to prepare for the next assignment.
“The duration for training has been short, but I have done everything that an athlete is supposed to do before a race. I have been juggling my training between Eldoret in Uasin Gishu County and Iten in Elgeyo Marakwet which was really good,” she said before boarding a plane to New York at Eldoret International Airport in Uasin Gishu on Monday.
Kipyego also said that the field will be competitive since the Olympics champion, Jepchirchir, will be present. All in all, she believes that she will be among the top performers.
“Some of the athletes who will be competing also participated in the Olympic Games. Just like me, the had little time to prepare. I finished my programme without a hitch, and I just want to do my best,” the athlete said.
“Competing on Sunday with fans cheering us along the streets is something good and supporters always motivate an athlete. It will be nice because I will be competing as a US resident unlike in 2016.”
Kipyego will be joined by Aliphine Tuliamuk, another Kenyan who changed her citizenshipp, and the 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden.
Among Kipyego’s competitors on Sunday are Jepchirchir, debutant Viola Lagat, Namibia’s four-time Olympian and 2019 world bronze medallist Helalia Johannes, who was 11th in Sapporo.
Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga, who won the Tokyo Marathon and finished third at the New York City Marathon in 2019 will also be competing and Ababel Yeshaneh the 2019 Chicago Marathon runner-up are some of the competitors to look out at.
In 2019, Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei bagged victory in her debut after crossing the line in 2:22:38 ahead of her compatriot Mary Keitany who timed 2:23:32 while Ethiopia’s Aga was third in 2:25:51.