World Half Marathon silver medallist Mercy Wacera is out to go one better when this year’s championships go down on Saturday in Cardiff.
Wacera was part of Kenya’s women team that made history by sweeping the top five positions during the 2014 World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen. The top five athletes not only registered season’s best times then but also clocked their personal best times.
Gladys Cherono, who has opted not to defend her title this year, led the assault, winning on season’s best of 1 hour, 07 minutes and 29 seconds, while Wacera returned personal best 1:07:44. Selly Chepyego wrapped up the podium places in 1:07:52.
Lucy Kabuu and Mercy Kibarus followed in that order in 1:08:37 (SB) and 1:08:42 (season’s best) respectively.
The team of 10 athletes and three officials leaves on Wednesday at 10.50pm aboard Emirates Airlines for the championships. “I am in a better form than when I took silver in Copenhagen,” said Wacera, who has been training in Nyahururu in the company of Bedan Karoki. Karoki is also in the team for the World Half.
“One can’t be sure of winning since anything can happen. I can only hope and pray for the best,” explained Wacera, who won Houston Half Marathon in 66:29 on January 17. Wacera’s time was the best ever recorded in the United States.
Wacera and Karoki warmed up for the World Half Marathon Championships with emphatic victories at the World’s Best 10km race in San Juan, Puerto Rico on February 29. The pair, who both won in 2014, each prevailed in two of the closest finishes in the history of the race in 27:42 and 31:49 respectively.
“I believe we have a strong team that can easily replicate the 2014 exploits but only if we embrace teamwork,” said Wacera, who said she feels inspired that one of Kenya’s long distance great Catherine Ndereba is managing the team. “You can never go wrong in her company.”
Men: Geoffrey Kamworor, Bedan Karoki, Edwin Kiptoo, Edwin Kipyego, Cyprian Kotut
Women: Cynthia Limo, Mercy Wacera, Rose Chelimo, Peris Chirchir, Gladys Chesire
Officials: Team Manager-John Wachira, Coaches -Catherine Ndereba, Kennedy Tanui