Kenya’s world beaters will be seeking to walk away with the Sh2 million winners’ prize in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon on Sunday.
Fancy Chemutai, who was just a second shy of breaking the World Half Marathon record after posting 1:04:52 at Ras Al Khaimah last year, leads the Kenyan charge that has seasoned long distance athletes.
The Kericho-based athlete, who was part of Team Kenya for the World Half Marathon last year before an injury ruled her out of the event, will be up against compatriots Edith Chelimo (65:52), Berlin Marathon champion Gladys Cherono (66:07) and Monica Ngige (68:31).
Course record-holder Mary Wacera (66:29) and Chicago Marathon champion Brigid Kosgei will also be eyeing victory in the streets of Houston, United States.
"I will be using the race and see how my body reacts as part of my preparations for my next marathon in April," Cherono told Nation Sport.
Kapsait-based Kosgei, who is among the starters in the 2019 London Marathon, will also be using the race as part of her training.
Kenyan-born American long distance ace Sally Kipyego and Ruti Aga from Ethiopia are the other notable athletes in the Houston race.
The men’s field has all the hallmarks for an explosive affair – never mind the timing of the race which comes early in the season.
Five of the starters have sub-60 personal bests with Kenya’s former World Half Marathon silver medallist Bedan Karoki (58:42), 2018 New York Marathon runners up Shura Kitata (59:16), Bernard Ngeno (59:22), El Hassan El Abbassi (59:27), and Geoffrey Koech (59:50) eyeing victory.
Japan-based Karoki will be the man to watch as he battles it out with the fastest man in the field - Jemal Yimer from Ethiopia (58:33).