NAIROBI, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) – Half-marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei said she is not under pressure as she waits for her debut marathon in Honolulu, Hawaii on Dec. 9.
Jepkosgei represents the new crop of runners who want to carry the baton of leading Kenyans who have dominated the 42km race, including former London marathon champion Prisca Jeptoo, New York marathon Mary Keitany and former Chicago marathon champion Florence Kiplagat.
Jepkosgei was invited to launch her marathon in Valencia last month but her coach advised her to start slow and that's why she chose to go to the little-known Honolulu marathon.
"It was not difficult for me to choose Honolulu because it's not a big race," Jepkosgei said on Sunday.
"We had the option of running in Valencia, but after talking to my coach, he advised me to start small and train in the big marathons. There is also fear of bad results on my first try and I need not be discouraged."
Jepkosgei finished third in a time of 68:10 at this year's Great North Run in Newcastle, England, his third race this year.
Concerns about injuries have limited Kenya's participation in international competition, but she believes she is improving.
In May, Jepkosgei finished second in the 10km race at Manchester, behind Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba, and she followed with a victory at Eldoret.
Jepkosgei, who is a half-marathon world record holder (64:51), dispelled any fear of being overwhelmed, saying that he bent to deal with any pressure.
"I'm not under pressure, but the fact is that I do not know the marathon well while the other athletes have time and experience of how to run the marathon, I just want to finish and feel the pain of the marathon. will be hot, which is good, "he added.
Jepkosgei's coach and husband Nicholas Koech said he was certain the 24-year-old would weather the storm and write history, like many before her, to win the marathon in his debut.
"I want her to have an impact when she makes the transition to the marathon," he said.