After pulling out of this month’s IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia with a hamstring injury, Bedan Karoki — a silver medallist at the championships — is now racing to be fit for next month’s London Marathon.
The hamstring injury forced Karoki out of the March 24 half marathon in the Spanish city, prompting Athletics Kenya to call in the reserve, Alex Oloitiptip, as cover.
Karoki retained Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon title in personal best time of 58 minutes and 42 seconds on February 9 in the United Arab Emirates where he sustained the injury, just after competing.
“It’s so disappointing but even though I am training, I can’t push hard,” Karoki, 27, said on Monday.
Subsequently, Athletics Kenya (AK) called up Alex Oloitiptip, also 27, from the Kenya Defence Forces to replace Karoki who now hopes to heal in time for the London Marathon on April 22.
Oloitiptip boasts a season’s best 1:00:49 from the Houston Half Marathon held January 14, and a personal best time of 58:51 from Copenhagen last year.
AK Vice President Paul Mutwii said they will identify another reserve athlete by today in place of the elevated Oloitiptip. “We want them to meet for few days before departure for the sake of co-ordination,” he said.
Oloitiptip joins two-time defending champion Geoffrey Kamworor and world half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei and will lead Kenya’s assault in Valencia.
RETURNING TO VALENCIA
The men’s team also has 2017 Family Bank Half Marathon winner Jorum Okombo (58:48), World Cross Country Championships silver medallist Leonard Barsaton and Barselius Kipyego, the winner of the Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon in Czech last year.
Joyciline Jepkosgei, who broke the world half marathon record twice last year, will be returning to Valencia, the course where she broke the mark on October 22, clocking 1:04:51. Jepkosgei will team up with Mary Wacera, Fancy Chemutai, Ruth Chepng’etich and Pauline Kaveke.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s team to the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships converges on Ngong today for final training.