Peres Jepchirchir
Peres Jepchirchir

Until her glorious win at the World Half Marathon in Cardiff, Wales last Saturday, few people knew Jepchirchir. However, the Kenyan returned home Monday, aware the global spotlight will be fixed on her and she is enjoying it.

Peres Jepchirchir
Peres Jepchirchir

Asked if she has any plans to move up to the full marathon distance, Jepchirchir ruled it out as she seeks to firm her grip in the 21km distance.

“I don’t plan to move up to the marathon. My next race will be the Yangzhou Half Marathon in China next month,” she said with no uncertainty.

With the battle for tickets in the Kenya team becoming so intensive, Jepchirchir will be more relaxed and safe to focus on the shorter distances, if she is to have any realistic chances of making it to Rio in August for the Olympic Games.

“I want to run the 10,000m at the Kenyan trials and I want to qualify for Rio,” she said. “But as you know, the Kenyan trials are always explosive and no one is assured of a slot until you cross the line. I will be ready for the challenge.”

Indeed the race for China ticket is thickening. There is the diminutive world 10,000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot to contend with.

Before 2014, no country had secured all of the medals in the women’s race at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. Kenya has now pulled off the feat twice in a row.

In a race that was decided only on the final straight, Jepchirchir added her name to the list of previous Kenyan winners of the title, joining the likes of Tegla Loroupe, Mary Keitany, Florence Kiplagat and Gladys Cherono.

From underdog to global champion. Now the challenge is to remain at the top in Yangzhou Half Marathon and Rio Olympics.

Source: Xinhua


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