What you need to know:
- Covid-19 pandemic negatively affects hotel business of the Keitanys
- Women's only marathon world record holder reveals why she pulled out of Boston race that was later postponed
If you are familiar with former London Marathon champion Mary Keitany, the first thing you will notice when you meet her is the extra bit of weight she is obviously carrying.
Understandably, Keitany has been nursing a hip injury picked last year that has prevented her from engaging in any serious training.
Many may not be aware that she sustained the injury when she competed in last year’s London Marathon finishing fifth in 2:20:58 as compatriot Brigid Kosgei romped to victory in 2:18:20.
Keitany told Nation Sport that she has been treating the hip injury since then.
She lined up for the New York Marathon against the advise of her doctor and is paying the price for that.
Running as the defending champion, she finished second in 2:23:32 as New York got a surprise winner in the name of newcomer Joyciline Jepkosgei, who romped to a marathon debut win of 2:22:38 while Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga sealed the podium in 2:25:51.
In the new season, Keitany was to debut in Boston Marathon in April but she pulled out because the hip injury, that had been aggravated in New York and just could not heal, seriously affected her preparations.
“I was supposed to compete this year in the Boston Marathon but I had to cancel in February because I could not prepare adequately. I saw it wise to take a break this season,” said Keitany, who is also the world record holder in a women’s only marathon.
She did just that before starting easy training recently.
“For a major marathon which is always competitive, I need four months of good training so that I can gun for a win. We hope by then the virus will have been contained and business back to normal especially in USA which has been seriously hit,” said Keitany at her home in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.
Keitany said that the coronavirus pandemic may have stopped races but the athletes will come out stronger. “I really feel for the athletes who had their races cancelled or rescheduled. They didn’t get the money and I’m crying for that athlete who was going for his/her first race but it was cancelled due to the virus,” she said.
But as an entrepreneur, Keitany together with her husband-cum-coach Charles Koech, has also been hit badly by the pandemic.
They both run Winstar Hotel in Eldoret which is now offering accommodation only with more than 30 members of staff having been sent home on paid leave.
Koech said that only three employees were working now at the hotel because business was severely affected.
“Business is bad,” Koech simply said.
The hotel has a capacity of 85 beds and has previously, on numerous occasions, hosted athletes in town for competition.