What you need to know:
- The mother of two finished seventh in 2:45.54 in her first appearance in 2013. Her time and ranking in the event have improved gradually ever since.
- After clocking 2:34.45 to finish third in 2015 and 2:33.04 for a 2nd-place finish in 2019, Rionotukei told Nation Sport that she hopes her experience in the competition will earn her the top prize on Sunday.
The StanChart Nairobi Marathon returns on Sunday with 35-year old Chemutai Rionotukei out to secure her maiden win in her fourth appearance.
The 2021 StanChart Nairobi Marathon will have new champions after winners of the previous edition held in 2019 opted out. Brimin Kipruto and Purity Jebichi, who won the men and women's marathon in 2019, are missing from the list of elite athletes announced by the organisers.
Andrew Kwemoi and Sheila Chepkirui's absence from the half marathon start list paves way for the crowning of new champions.
Rionotukei finished seventh in 2:45.54 in her first appearance in 2013. Her time and ranking in the event have improved gradually ever since.
After clocking 2:34.45 to finish third in 2015 and 2:33.04 for a 2nd-place finish in 2019, Rionotukei told Nation Sport that she hopes her experience in the competition will earn her the top prize on Sunday.
"I feel I would have won in 2015 and 2019 if I had stuck with the leading pack from the start. I will not to lag behind this time so that I can have a better chance of finishing first."
Rionotukei, who trains in Iten, feels competition will be stiffer this time because athletes will be under more pressure to prove themselves after months of inactivity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The pandemic stopped competitions like this for months and, I feel athletes will go into Sunday's race with an urge to make up for lost time and boost their profiles for future local and international events."
Rionotukei will face competition for the top prize in the women's 42km race from Fridah Lodepa, Emily Chemutai, Daisy Cherono and Peris Jepkorir Kiprono.
Along with Rionotukei, the quartet is among a field of elite athletes announced by the race organisers for Sunday's race.
In the women's 21km race, all eyes will be on Brillian Jepkorir who won the Boston B.A.A Half Marathon in 2019.
Competition for glory in the men's 10km race has been reduced to between Benjamin Kigen and Jacob Kiprop after Daniel Simiu and Rhonex Kipruto pulled out. Simiu and Kipruto represented Kenya in 10,000 metres at the Tokyo Olympics.
Speaking to Nation Sport, Simiu said that he pulled out after consulting his managers.
"I was looking forward to competing on Sunday but, my coach advised to focus me on races that have been scheduled for the end of November," Simiu said.
Abel Kipchumba, who has a personal best time of 2:05.13, will be the man to watch in the men's full marathon.
The course record for the women's 42km race is held by Alice Chelangat who ran 2:28.04 in 2012.
If successful, Rionotukei hopes to use the Sh2 million prize money for the full marathon winner to start a business.
Standard Chartered will award the top 10 finishers in the 42km races and the top three in the 21km, 10km and 21km wheelchair races.
The winners of the 21km, 10km and 21km wheelchair races will walk home with Sh300,000 while the first and second runners-up will receive Sh150,000 and Sh100,000 respectively.
The first and second runners-up in the full marathon will walk away with Sh750,000 and Sh500,000 respectively.
The other finishers in the full marathon will be awarded as follows:
4th - Sh150,000
5th - Sh100,000
6th - Sh50,000
7th - Sh40,000
8th - Sh30,000
9th - Sh20,000
10th - Sh10,000