Two-time defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor and World half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei will lead Kenya’s assault at the World Half Marathon due March 24 in Valencia, Spain.
Kamworor, who won his maiden title at 2014 Copenhagen before defending the crown in 2016 Cardiff, will once again partner World Half Marathon silver medallist Bedan Karoki in the men’s race.
Paul Mutwii, the Athletics Kenya senior vice president in charge of competition, also named the 2017 Family Bank Half Marathon winner Jorum Okombo (58:48), World Cross Country silver medallist Leonard Barsaton and Barselius Kipyego, the winner of the Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon in Czech last year, in the team.
Alex Oloitiptip from Kenya Defence Forces has been put on the reserve list.
Okombo and Oloitiptip finished second and third in personal best times of 58:48 and 58:51 respectively at the Copenhagen Half Marathon last September while Kipyego broke the course record with victory in 59:15 at Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon.
Karoki, who represented Kenya at the Rio Olympic Games and World Championships in 10,000m alongside Kamworor, won the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in a personal best of 59:10 on February 10 last year.
“It’s my intention to win my third consecutive title God willing,” said Kamworor when he won his fifth National Police Service Cross Country on Saturday at the Ngong Racecourse. Kamworor is also fresh from winning his maiden marathon in New York City on November 5 in 2:10:53.
Kamworor won in 2014 Copenhagen in a world lead and championship record time of 59:08 before retaining the crown at 2016 Cardiff in 59:10, the second fastest time in the championship. Karoki settled for silver in 59:36 in Cardiff to relegate Briton Mo Farah to third in 59:59.
“I am not only ready for the event but also victory and atone for my second place finish in 2016,” said Karoki, who will warm up for Valencia with his title defence at the Ras Al Khaimah next month.
BROKE WORLD RECORD
Jepkosgei, who broke the world half marathon twice last year, will be returning to Valencia, the course where she broke the world half marathon record last on October 22 in a new time of 1 hour, 04 minutes and 51 seconds.
Jepkosgei, who had on April 1 last year lowered the world half marathon record to 1:04:52 in Prague, will team up with Mary Wacera, who won silver in 2016 Copenhagen and bronze in 2016 Cardiff.
Fancy Chemutai, who finished second behind Jepkosgei in Valencia, Istanbul Half Marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich and Pauline Kaveke complete the women’s team.
Mutwii said the team will either train in Kaptagat or Iten starting March 10 ahead of the championships. Kenyan women made history sweeping the podium places in 2016. The winner Peres Jepchirchir and silver medallist Cynthia Jerotich didn’t make the team.
Geoffrey Kamworor, Bedan Karoki, Jorum Okombo, Leonard Barsaton, Barselius Kipyego, Alex Oloitiptip (Reserve)
Joyciline Jepkosgei, Fancy Chemutai, Ruth Chpeng’etich, Pauline Kaveke, Mary Wacera, Joan Chelimo (Reserve)