Kenyan runners eye breakthrough in their debut marathon in Amsterdam

Source: Xinhua| 2018-10-16 05:52:18|Editor: mmm
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NAIROBI, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Former World 10,000m champion Linet Masai is uncertain of what to expect as she debuts at the Amsterdam marathon on Sunday.

The 29-year-old announced her arrival on the global stage at home in Mombasa when she won the junior women's cross country race back in 2007, but injuries and loss of form denied her the success she demands.

However, after returning to fitness after motherhood, Masai together with compatriot and former Africa 10,000m silver medalist Jackline Chepngeno will be venturing in new market as they seek to secure a foothold in the marathon.

"I have no experience over marathon and the choice of Amsterdam was down to my management. But I hope to make a good run and will have to take each step at a time," Masai said on Monday.

The two will join Ethiopian Meseret Defar, a former Olympic champion, who will also be making her debut at marathon as well as Meseret Belete while Tadelech Bekele, who won last year's women's race, will return to defend her title.

"I have my expectations, but I have to be careful not to look far. It is the first race for me and I need to consider that my body will be experiencing something new. Winning is always part of my plans, but I do not want to pressure myself much," said Chepngeno.

Defar, Masai and Chepngeno have battled over the track with the Ethiopian coming tops on more occasions. However, in Berlin in 2009, Masai proved her pedigree to end Kenya's jinx in winning the 10,000m race at the World Championships. She also claimed the bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Masai also won silver in the World Cross Country Championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011, as well as being the Kenyan 10,000 meters champion in 2009 and 2010.

It will however not be the first time that Masai will be running in Netherlands. She is also a familiar face in Amsterdam events having won the Dam-tot-Damloop 10-mile road race in 2009 and 2014.

"Those were short races and it played a part in the selection of Dutch marathons as my debut competition. Hopefully, I will be on the medal stand at the end of the race," said Masai.

Kenya's Chepngeno has also secured a place on the podium at the Dam-tot-Damloop and Egmond Half Marathon in Netherlands. Enditem