NAIROBI, April 26 (Xinhua) -- World half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei said her injury worries are behind her ahead of her debut marathon race in Hamburg on Sunday.
Despite running a slow race in New York in March, which she won in 70:07 minutes, the Kenyan says her focus has always been on marathon since she announced it in December of last year.
"This season my preparations were all focused on debuting in the marathon. It was great to win the half marathon in New York. It helped me gauge how my body feels," Jepkosgei said on Friday.
"I believe in my training. I can confirm that the twisted leg during training has since healed and as shown in New York, [and I] am back to running at full throttle," she added.
The women's contest will also feature Portuguese star Jessica Augusto, who won the race in 2017 clocking 2:25:30.
Madai Perez of Mexico (2:22:59), Japan's Tomomi Tanaka (2:23:19) and Dibabe Kuma of Ethiopia (2:23:34) are among the favorites whereas Kenya's hope rests on Jackline Chepngeno (2:24:38) and Jepkosgei.
Jepkosgei's debut over the 42.2km distance has been fervently anticipated since the Kenyan, 25, produced her sensational 2017 season, breaking six world records.
Four of those came in one race, the Prague Half Marathon, where she clocked 30:05 at 10km, 45:37 at 15km and 1:01:25 at 20km en route to a 1:04:52 performance over the full distance.
She clipped another second from that mark in Valencia the following October, lowering the world record to 64 minutes and 51 seconds where it currently stands.
In 2017, again in Prague, Jepkosgei shattered the 10km record at the Prague Grand Prix, clocking a phenomenal 29:43.
Slowed in part by illness, her 2018 season didn't produce the same record-shattering achievements, but she did race to silver at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia in March.
Hamburg organizers were quick to draw a parallel to another high profile marathon debut on their course, that of Eliud Kipchoge in 2013, when the Kenyan ace cruised to victory in 2:05:30. Bug Jepkosgei insisted that parallel wasn't on her mind when choosing the setting for her debut.
"My manager and my coach both told me that Hamburg has a fast and flat course," she explained.
"I would like to achieve a time of around 2:22. I have completed my preparation. I have to wait and see how my body reacts to the course. I have to determine my final goal and let me see how it pans out," the Kenyan added.