Two-time Boston Half Marathon champion Joan Chelimo is among athletes who will be lining up for this year’s edition of Tokyo Marathon.
She will team up with her compatriots former Chicago Marathon champion Florence Kiplagat and Gold Coast Marathon champion Ruth Jebitok.
The Kenyans will face stiff competition from Ethiopian quartet of Aga Ruti, Feyse Tadese, Yebrgual Melese, Belete Mimi and Bahrain’s World marathon champion Rose Chelimo.
Chelimo who trains in Iten will be making her debut in the event and is looking forward to a good run given that it’s her first time to run in the 42km race.
“This is my first marathon race and I will be running my own race because I’m not there to compete with anyone. I don’t have any experience but I will be looking forward to a good run,” said Chelimo who is the fourth-fastest half marathon runner.
Chelimo also said that she has spent four months training between Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County and Moiben in Uasin Gishu County where she used to go for her long runs as part of her marathon build up.
“I will be putting into practice what I have been training for and if I will be in the podium, I will be happy,” said the athlete.
Asked about the Ethiopian athletes, Chelimo said that she will be running side by side with the athletes as she also wants to make a name in the distance races.
“Tokyo is cold and has a flat course and I will be very excited to run with the big names whom we are meeting for the first time. Ethiopians are good and I will be looking up to them to do well,” said the athlete.
Jebitok who is also the Gold Coast Marathon champion will also be eyeing victory in the race.
Last year, she competed in three marathons winning in Barcelona and Gold Coast and finishing third in Toronto Marathon. The women category will be chasing a course record of 2:19:47 set by Sarah Jepchirchir in 2017.
The men’s category comprises of the defending champion Dickson Chumba who will be eyeing his third title in the race. The Kapsabet-based athlete will be eyeing to reduce a course record set by Wilson Kipsang of 2:03:58 in 2017.
Chumba who won the 2014 and 2018 editions will face still competition from his compatriots Bedan Karoki who has a personal best of 2:07:41), former Mumbai Marathon champion Gideon Kipketer (2:05:51) and Nobert Kigen (2:05:13).
The trio though will have rough time running against the Ethiopians Birhanu Legese who has a personal best of 2:04:15, Seifu Tura (2:04:44) and Tadu Abate (2:06:47).