By John Kwoba
NAIROBI, May 17 (Xinhua) -- World half-marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei has shaken off her injury and will return to action this Sunday at the Great Manchester 10km run.
Speaking in Nairobi, Jepkosgei says she feels stronger after her recovery from a foot injury, which she sustained days prior to the World Half Marathon in Valencia, Spain in March.
Though she raced in Valencia with the injury finishing second, the 24-year old believes she can now focus her attention on breaking more records this year.
"What I have in plan for 2018 is to challenge some course and world records in selected races," she said Thursday in Nairobi.
Indeed, her schedule has started piling up and she will have to be at her best form if she is to realize her dreams.
Last year in Prague (Czech Republic), Jepkosgei shattered the 10km record clocking an impressive 30:05. It is this time that she wants to improve on in Manchester.
"My training has gone on well. There is nothing much I have changed during my training and I'm looking forward to the race where I want to lower the record, even by a second," said Jepkosgei.
However, the Kenyan will not be running against the clock alone. She has her hands full as she comes up against Ethiopian long distance runner Tirunesh Dibaba, the three-time Olympic gold medallist and the race defending champion.
"I am expecting a stiff competition but I will run in line with my training skills. I have done good training and I won't fear anyone," she added.
Dibaba and Jepkosgei will go head-to-head over 10km in the Great Manchester Run with a focus on setting a faster time.
However, the onus will be on Dibaba to prove she has recovered from the exhaustion of the London marathon, where her intent to set a world record was blown after she failed to sustain the excruciatingly fast pace. She did not finish the race.
Other top names confirmed for the women's race include former winner Betsy Saina from Kenya and Tokyo Marathon winner Birhane Dibaba from Ethiopia.
Saina recently won the Paris marathon and feels she has shaken off the fatigue and was ready to challenge at the top again.
"My marathon legs are finally accepting to be quick again. I have run the fastest 400m laps since 2016. I am excited to have my wheels back before my 10km race in Manchester," said Saina.
"Every dream is valid, put in some work and be patient," said Saina.