New Delhi, Oct 19 (PTI) She missed out competing in India last year after her world record feat but Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei is all geared up to scorch the roads of the national capital when she runs in Sunday’s Airtel Delhi Half Marathon.
Jepkosgei is the current women’s half marathon world record holder with a timing of 1 minute 04.51 seconds, which she clocked while winning in Valencia (Spain) on October 22 last year.
She had planned to run in the 2017 Delhi Half Marathon, which was held on November 19 but later dropped as she had less than a month’s recovery time after the world record feat in Valencia.
“Last year, I had planned to run in Delhi but it was held less than one month after Valencia. The recovery time was very less and so I dropped the idea. But this time I am here and I am excited to give my best on Sunday,” Jepkosgei told PTI at the sidelines of elite athletes unveiling event.
“I love India and people are very nice. This Airtel Delhi Half Marathon is one of the best events in the world. That is why I am here,” added Jepkosgei who is just 24.
Jepkosgei’s task on Sunday will not be easy as she will be up against Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba, who is arguably the greatest ever woman distance runner in the world with three Olympic, five World Championship gold medals in 5000m and 10,000m in a career spanning more then 15 years.
“It is a tough field on Sunday and it is an honour to be running along with Tirunesh. I don’t have any particular time in my mind but I am give my best to win the race and will see the timing according to the race conditions,” said Jepkosgei.
The rise of Jepkosgei has been phenomenal as she had started her professional career in 2014-15 only.
Born in a small village in Cheptil, Jepkosgei rose to stardom when she broke four world records in a single race in the Prague Half Marathon in April last year. She won the race in then half marathon (21.0975 km) world record time of 64:52. She also set 10K, 15K and 20K world records during that race.
On October 22, she bettered her half marathon world record to 64.51.
Jepkosgei is married to her schoolmate Nicholas Koech who is also her coach and they have a son born in 2011.
She did not have enough money to think about running at her younger days and so Jepkosgei keeps a part of her prize from winning races all around the world to support talented youngsters back home.
“I have struggled during my school days, there was nobody to support me. So, I keep a part of my earnings from prize money for the kids and youngsters at my place in Kenya so that they can take up to running,” she said.
“As of now, I am not doing it in an organised manner, just giving money to those youngsters who want to take up running but their families are poor. But later on, I plan to have my own organisation or an academy like that to do all these things,” said Jepkosgei who currently stays at Iten near Eldoret in Kenya.
Jepkosgei was on Friday honoured by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), the organisers and world body for distance races, for his world record last year.
The AIMS World Record Award was handed to her jointly by its Secretary Hugh Jones and Vivek Singh, joint Managing Director of Procam Imternational, the promoters of Delhi Half Marathon.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.