Kenyans eye Lisbon Half Marathon win, rule out world record attempt

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-09 22:10:55|Editor: Shi Yinglun
Video PlayerClose

NAIROBI, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Sammy Kitwara and Stanley Biwott will battle for honors at the Lisbon Half Marathon on March 11, but have ruled out attempting to run a world record time.

Both athletes are gearing up for the April marathons in London and Boston and will be using the race in the Portuguese capital to test their preparedness.

However, they face stiff challenge from the man that set the course record in Lisbon in Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese.

"I have my focus to run fast time. But running a world record is something that you plan and my focus is to win the race," Kitwara said.

Kitwara, who won in Lisbon in 2016 clocking a fast time of 59:47 will be keen to recapture the title he lost last year to Jake Robertson of New Zealand.

In 2011 Tadese clocked a sizzling 58:30, just seven seconds shy of the world record he set on the very course in 2010 of 58:23.

The world record-holder from Eritrea faces two athletes from Kenya who have run under one hour. Kitwara's personal best time stands at 58:48 while Biwott (58:56) can be ruled out for title contention.

Kenyan runners have been very successful in the competition, accounting for over half of the total winners in Lisbon, with Tegla Loroupe taking the honors in the women's race on six separate occasions

Therefore world cross country fourth-placer Alice Aprot will be making her debut in the women's race keen to follow in the footsteps of her mentor.

"I always wanted to run and win big races like Loroupe. She is our neighbor in Turkana and we always share a lot. But it is time I ventured in road racing because after this race, I will try and qualify for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast," Aprot said.

Aprot will not have a walk in the pack on her first shot at the road race. She will come up against compatriot Joan Chelimo (66:25) and Brigid Kosgei (66:35).

Meanwhile, Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge said he likes running because it keeps a doctor away.

"To me, running is life. I run to live longer and enjoy a healthier life. I always say: a run in the morning is like eating a fruit a day - it chases the doctor away. It is good for your mind," said Kipchoge, who is preparing for a third shot at winning the London Marathon on April 22.

"Running has given me so much. It has allowed me to travel the world and enjoy a good lifestyle in general. It gives me energy and motivation to target the next victory," he added.