Houston Half Marathon attracts top Kenya runners
Caroline Chepkoech, the sixth all-time fastest runner at half marathon will lead Kenya's bid to conquer the Houston Half Marathon on Jan. 19 in the United States, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
Chepkoech, who has ruled out any hopes of competing at the Tokyo Olympics in the marathon, will have to calculate her steps to perfection if she has to beat Kenyan-turned Israeli Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, the reigning European 10,000m champion.
With a personal best time of 65:07, Chepkoech is the fastest ahead of Chemtai 66:09 and Ethiopians Burka (66:11), former champion Ruti Aga (66:39). Current champion Ethiopia's Biruktayit Degefa will also be back to defend her title.
"This will be a good testing ground ahead of the April marathon. The big challenge is here with top runners. But for me the focus is to improve the time and hopefully win the race," said Chepkoech on Wednesday.
Hassan El Abbassi (2:04:43) and Woldaregay Kelkile Gezahegn (2:05:56) are the quickest marathon entrants. Degefa's main opposition could come from fellow Ethiopian Askale Merachi.
In the men's race, Jemal Yimer, the fourth fastest of all time (58:33) is quickest in the line-up, one of eight sub-hour runners. Shura Kitata (59:16), Bernard Kipkorir (59:07) and Robertson (59:58) will oppose him.
Kipkorir will team up with compatriot Bernard Ngeno (59:07), Sam Chelanga (60:37) and Shadrack Biwott (61:25) to challenge the Ethiopians' dominance.