Seasoned long distance runner Lucy Kabuu is set to bounce back after a year-long break when she fields at the UAP/Old Mutual Ndakaini Half Marathon on Saturday in Ndakaini, Muranga County.
Kabuu, who competed last for Kenya last at the 2014 World Half Marathon in Copenhagen where she finished fourth, had been sidelined by a stomach ailment that since healed.
The 2006 Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion is among 200 elite athletes expected for the races that will start at 7.30am.
They include defending champions Matthew Kisorio, who is seeking his third consecutive victory and Pauline Korikwiang, and Africa 10,000m silver medallist Wilfred Kimitei, who finished third last year.
Also out to claim the top honours in men’s race are seasoned long distance runners Amos Kaptich and Mutai Kiplangat.
“I have had bad stomach problems that have kept me out of action for the last one year but I thank God I’m fully fit now,” said Kabuu, who also represented Kenya in marathon at the 2013 World Championships where she finished 24th.
Kabuu, who competed in 10,000m at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics, finishing ninth and seventh respectively, resumed training in May in Ngong.
“All is well now and I am ready to rumble again,” said the mother one who competed last at Copenhagen Half Marathon in September last year.
“I want to work hard and see if I can secure a place in the marathon team for next year’s World Championships,” she added.
Kabuu, who will be making a return at Ndakaini after settling 10th in 2013, has a battle at hand against Korikwiang, who staged a pulsating return after two years to storm to victory in the women’s race last year.
Korikwiang, who flourished in junior ranks winning the 2006 World Cross Country junior title before taking maternity leave late 2012, eased off to victory in 1 hour and 15:31 minutes.
Also in the women’s race are Janet Chepsang and Beatrice Mutai, who finished third last year. Mutai is the elder sister of Rio Olympics 1,500m champion Faith Chepng’etich.
UAP managing director James Wambugu disclosed at a press conference yesterday that unlike before, elite athletes will have a head-start from the rest of the pack. “We slowly want to drift to international standards,” said Wambugu.
Kisorio, the 2011 World Cross Country team Kenya captain, affirmed his prowess when he tore the hilly course apart to retain the title last year in 1:05:15.
Silas Loikon and Josephine Musau will battle in 10km of the event.