Nairobi — Kenyan runners will be hoping to return home millions richer when they line up with tens of other marathoners at the Copenhagen Half Marathon on Sunday.
The annual marathon holds fond memories for the country considering it is where triple World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor set a new world half marathon record of 58:01 on his way to victory in 2019.
Could another Kenyan etch his or her name in Danish folklore with an exemplary run on Sunday?
Among those hoping to come away from the Danish capital all smiles is world marathon silver medalist Judith Korir who will be leading the Kenyan contingent in the women’s half marathon.
The Paris Marathon champion was one of the bright sparks in what was a disappointing outing for Kenyan road runners at the World Championship in Oregon and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
She will be joined in this quest by 2018 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon champion Fancy Chemutai whose personal best of 1:04:52 is the fastest of the 22 runners who will compete in the race.
Chemutai will be hoping for a better performance than her last road race in April this year at Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta where she finished fourth.
Having come third at the Copenhagen Marathon in May this year, Agnes Keino will be hoping the familiar surroundings of the Danish capital work in her favour.
Other Kenyans in contention include Vicoty Chepng’eno – whose 1:05:03 at January’s Houston Half Marathon set a new North American half marathon record – and Irine Kimais – who won the South American Half Marathon last month.
American-based Sharon Lokedi will be keen to get over the disappointment of her last competition at June’s Boston Marathon where she failed to finish the women’s 10k race.
For Beatrice Chepkemoi, Copenhagen represents a chance to build on her third-place finish at last month’s Antrim Coast Half Marathon in the United Kingdom.
Elite men’s startlist
It will be an equally crowded men’s field as approximately 60 runners have registered for the road race.
Most notable among the Kenyan competitors is Adizero Roads to Records Half Marathon champion Mathew Kimeli whose PB of 58:43 is the second fastest in the startlist – behind Ethiopian Amedework Walalegn’s time of 58:40.
Kimeli has performed admirably in road races this year, having also finished third in the Prague Half Marathon in April and clinched the Beach to Beacon 10k race in the United States last month.
Other Kenyans looking to leverage on the momentum gathered from their previous races include Paris Half Marathon champion Boniface Kibiwot, New York Half Marathon runner-up Edward Cheserek and Josephat Kemei, who finished third at the Goteborg Half Marathon in May in Sweden.
After his win in Italy and Germany last year, the 2021 Berlin Half Marathon champion Felix Kipkoech will be hoping to return to the road races with a bang as will be Jonathan Maiyo and Titus Kimutai whose last competition was at the Athletics Kenya pre-trials at Nyayo Stadium in May last year.
The 2016 Toulouse Marathon champion Matthew Kibiwot will be keen to right the wrongs of his last race in Paris in April when he finished 14th as will be last year’s Madrid Half Marathon champion Ronald Kirui who also came 14th at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in February this year.