By John Kwoba
NAIROBI, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- World half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei says she is under no pressure as she looks forward to her marathon debut in Honolulu, Hawaii on Dec. 9.
Jepkosgei represents the new crop of runners eyeing to take the baton from the top Kenyans who have dominated the 42km race including former London marathon champion Prisca Jeptoo, New York marathon champion Mary Keitany and former Chicago marathon champion Florence Kiplagat.
Jepkosgei had received invitation to launch her marathon in Valencia, Spain last month, but her coach advised her to start slow and that is why she opted to go to little known Honolulu marathon.
"It was not hard for me to choose Honolulu because it's not a big race," said Jepkosgei on Sunday.
"We had an option of running in Valencia, but, after speaking with my coach he advised me to start small and graduate into the big marathons. There is also the fear of poor results on my first attempt and I need not get discouraged."
Jepkosgei finished third in a time of 68:10 at this year's Great North Run in Newcastle, England, her third race this year.
Injury concerns have limited the Kenyan's participation in international competition, but she believes she is getting better.
In May, Jepkosgei finished second at the Manchester 10km run behind Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba and she followed it with a win in Eldoret.
Jepkosgei, who is the world half marathon record holder (64:51), has dispelled any fear of being overwhelmed, saying she has leant to handle any pressure.
"I'm under no pressure. But the fact is that I don't know the marathon well while the other athletes have the times and experience on how to run the marathon. I just want to finish and feel the pain of the marathon. I'm told the conditions in Honolulu will be warm, which is good," she added.
Jepkosgei's coach and husband Nicholas Koech says he is certain the 24-year-old will weather the storm and write history, like many before her, to win the marathon on her debut.
"I want her to have an impact when she transition to the marathon," he said.