Kitwara, Cheyech lead Kenya's quest for Valencia marathon crown

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-30 23:55:15|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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NAIROBI, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan champion Sammy Kitwara and former Commonwealth Games champion Filomena Cheyech lead a strong team to the Valencia marathon on Sunday.

The Sunday race will be his first since he paced Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge to break the world record in Berlin in September. However, Kitwara must walk out of Kipchoge's shadow and stake a claim to the title and build his own reputation as one of the country's best road racers.

"I am happy I did my part in helping Kipchoge secure the world record. But now it is my turn to win my own race and improve my ranking ahead of the 2019 World Championships in Qatar," Kitwara said on Friday in Nairobi. Kitwara, who has not finished a race since he won in the Spanish city last year, is keen to revive his career.

"I am strong and healthy. I have done enough training and my strategy is to run from the front and hope the rest of the field will not catch up with me," he added.

Kitwara will however, be up against a strong team led by former London and Chicago Marathon winner Tsegaye Kebede from Ethiopia. Kenya's other focus will be on former Commonwealth Games marathon champion Filomena Cheyech (2:21:22).

From a poor performance in the Nagoya marathon earlier this year, Cheyech has failed to compete in any other race and Valencia will be her second stop on the journey.

"I feel strong after testing myself in half marathon races," said Cheyech. "This is my first serious race and the start of my preparations for the 2019 season, where I intend to make the Kenya team [heading] to the World Championships and possibly the 2020 Olympic Games."